Tikhon Khrennikov was certainly an equivocal figure in the history of 20th-century Russian music. A composer with a tendency towards popular theatrical genres and lyricism, the naively optimistic nature of his music was soon noticed by the Soviet government, which took Khrennikov under its wing and appointed him Secretary of the reorganised Union of Composers in 1948 – a post he held for no less than 43 years. During his tenure in the role, Khrennikov witnessed the persecution of numerous artists who refused to comply with the USSR’s dictated enthusiasm for all things socialist in musical culture. Such behaviour surely confirms his political stance, and yet it is known that Khrennikov on more than one occasion came to the aid of several musicians, protecting them from arrest and helping to forge the careers of many young and talented artists.
This release centres around the Russian composer’s concerto output, coupling Nos. 2 and 3 for the piano with those he wrote for the violin. Energetic movement and infectious emotion are in no short supply throughout, and Khrennikov – who appears as the soloist for Piano Concerto No.3 – must have delighted in the fact that three of Russia’s most famous ‘wunderkinder’ (Evgeny Kissin, Vadim Repin and Maxim Vengerov) appeared alongside for the live recording of these works. Each of the musical starlets subsequently abandoned the USSR, having barely crossed the threshold into adolescence; this recording therefore offers a rare glimpse into their early careers, playing the music of a man who spent his whole life standing guard over the ‘iron curtain’.
- Recorded live in 1988.
- For several decades after WWII Tikhon Khrennikov was the embodiment of Soviet musical establishment, setting forth the ‘rules of the game’ concerning the suitability of newly composed music and its influence and value for ‘the People’. His own works are perfect in that matter: bold, optimistic, melodic and lyrical, ‘Soviet feel-good music’.
This recording is historic in the sense that it features 3 Soviet child prodigies: Yevgeny Kissin, Maxim Vengerov and Vadim Repin, now household names in western musical life, then the perfect examples of successful Soviet education and training.
Khrennikov himself is the soloist in his 3rd piano concerto.
- A unique and fascinating CD, and good fun too!
- Contains notes on the composer and his music.
- Contains biographies on each of the artists.