Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Akhmatova Songs; Mandelstam Poems; Hymn to Spring; Frozen Time; La Malinconia; The Night Demons; Vernal Equinox; Scent of Absence; Crucifixion; Meditation in the Japanese Garden; Before the Thunderstorm.
Patricia Rosario, Tim Mirfin, Michael Vaiman
Meladina Record MRCD00012a/00013a. 79'18"

This is an extraordinarily successful live recording of Elena Firsova's celebratory 50th birthday concert, reviewed in detail by S&H, March 2000, when I expressed the hope that some of the music might appear on CD. Firsova and her husband Dmitri Smirnov are important representatives of the ex-Soviet emigrés now in the West, and the enrichment of British musical life thereby is reflected by the participants in this double-CD and in the recent Russian Easter Weekend in London, 28-30 April, also reviewed by S&H.

Patricia Rosario's accounts of two groups of songs, and as soloist in a major Cantata to poignant poems by Mandelstam, are perhaps the high points; she is in perfect voice, captured by expert engineering at the Royal Academy of Music. Tim Mirfin (bass) impresses in two striking settings of poems by Oleg Prokofiev. Michael Vaiman, a distinguished Russian violinist, is partnered by his pianist son, Daniel, in the world premiere of Vernal Equinox Op. 94, commissioned for the occasion. Two great Russian cellists participate - Alexander Ivashkin and Karine Georgian. Richard Shaw accompanies Ivashkin in The Night Demons and Owen Murray (accordion) partners Karine Georgian in Crucifixion.. Ian Pace plays the Hymn to Spring for solo piano. The Brodsky Quartet gave Firsova's 10th String Quartet, which is also featured on the CD mentioned below.

Unusually for CDs, although individual tracks can be selected in the normal way, the items run continuously without pauses; this appears to have been a deliberate artistic decision. For full enjoyment of the music, a copy of the RAM concert programme, with programme notes and all texts, is desirable.


Peter Grahame Woolf

Meladina = Elena Firsova + Dmitri Smirnov. Enquiries about Scores, Tapes & CDs of music by these two composers to New string quartets by both composers are featured in a Brodsky Quartet recent release, reviewed in Music on the Web May 2000. PGW


Rob Barnett

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