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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Vyacheslav Artyomov, Symphony, On the Threshold of a Bright World, National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia, Vladimir Ashkenazy

From the brilliant musical mind of Russian composer Vyacheslav Artyomov comes another volume of orchestral works including the monumental Symphony, On the Threshold of a Bright World (Divine Art 25143), very stirringly performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy and the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia.

I reviewed another volume on these pages several months ago (see search box above) which was nothing short of revelatory. This new volume confirms that first impression. Artyomov is a major figure on the Russian new music scene, with an explosively modern pallet of mystical, mysterioso universes of sound, a basic sensibility that goes back to Scriabin and Messiaen but then carries it forward to today with true originality.

Two substantial works comprise this additional volume: the title work "Symphony, On the Threshold of a Bright World" (1990/2002) and "Ave Atque Vale" (1997), for percussion and orchestra. A brief bonus work closes off the program, "Ave, Crux Alba" (1994/2012) for choral group and orchestra.

The Symphony has a vast spatial expanse as its foundational premise. The orchestra bursts forward with huge modern clusters and quieter introspective interludes. It is landmark in its dramatic thrust, sounding great as a CD and one can imagine even more spectacular live.

"Ave Atque Vale" has a singular role for solo percussion, handled deftly by Rostislav Shatayevsky. An immersively contrasting  aural dimension is the way forward, marking out yet another, more reflective but no less enthralling spatial-sonic universe.

"Ave, Crux Alba" ends the CD with a brief but memorably anthemic lyricism.

Like the volume previously discussed here, this one beautifully carves out for us a celestial mysteriousness and at times a hugeness that holds its own as some of the most bracing and original music of our times. Artyomov is a voice for today, ultra-modern, futuristic and vibrant in its consistent aural brilliance. Get this one! Get both!


  1. Thank you, Grego, for so exciting and penetrative articles about my works. My impressions on these symphonies written some twenty years ago are very close to yours.
    Be happy.
    Vyacheslav Artyomov

    1. It's worth,Grego,for your further experience to listen to my Requiem and the first part of the tetralogy - Way to Olympus, while you know the 2d and 3d parts of the cycle. I recommended Divine Art
      to re-issue Way to Olympus, In Memoriam and Tristia I from the Melodiya originals.
      Best wishes.

  2. Ah, great to hear that, Maestro Artyomov. I have some catching up to do with your later works! Those two Divine Art releases make me realize I've missed out on some wonderful sounds. Thanks for dropping a line!