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Yerkesh SHAKEYEV (b. 1962)
Waves from Heaven – Fourteen Song Arrangements for Orchestra
London Symphony Orchestra/Gavin Sutherland
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Richard Balcombe
London Metropolitan Orchestra/Andy Brown
rec. Abbey Road Studios, London and AIR Studios, London, no dates given.
NEOCLASSICS no number [78:00]

I did not hear what I had rather expected to hear on this CD – I had thought that I would be presented with a 21st Century ‘symphony’ or group of symphonic poems, composed in the neo-tonal style that many composers, especially those from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries, have come to employ.

Had I researched further, I would have found that the composer Yerkesh Shakeyev of Kazakhstan, has won many awards for his popular songs. This disc contains orchestrations of some fourteen of them, performed by three different London Orchestras, each of whom, I suspect, could have played them on sight with no difficulty whatsoever.

It is difficult to say just which of the fourteen were orchestrated by Shakeyev, but since only three of them are specifically designated as arranged by others, I must assume that unlike most popular musicians, he can actually write for a full-size orchestra.

The booklet notes, such as they are, make much of his melodic ability, and I have to say, rightly so. The notes also give a platform for him to speak of his inspiration: “You now hold in your hands the epitome of my creative work, which was inspired by the voice from the above that I call the ‘God’s Whisper’”.

Other sources of descriptions of the music can easily be found on the web, e.g. “music that descended to him from the sky as a revelation: Warm waves of harmony came as whispers from angels, capable of healing inner wounds and re-awakening love for life”.

And the music? Well, coming down to earth, if you can imagine a slightly updated ballet suite by Glazunov, occasionally spiced by hints of Khachaturian, you won’t be far wrong – waltzes, lovelorn adagios and even a track named ‘London’, the city where this CD was recorded. It seems that Shakeyev was greatly impressed by Britain; his brief though heartfelt reference to it is very nice indeed, although the music – a rather pleasing adagio – is not what I would have chosen to associate with that hectic city. The track entitled ‘Remember Me’, is a particularly soulful adagio and I am not surprised that its composer has won umpteen awards.

In short, this is a pleasing easy-listening CD, beautifully recorded and performed. I have no doubt the Mr. Shakeyev is pleased with it, and so he should be.

Jim Westhead

 




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