Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Vyacheslav Artyomov, Album XI
I've covered some of the more orchestrally oriented releases happily on these pages (type his name in the search box at the top left of this page to see those). The music on these albums gives us the High Modernist post-Scriabin, post-Shostakovich Artyomov and does so with a dramatic flair. Album XI brings us the chamber aspect of his version of the style. But it also gives you works that show a pronounced affinity with Avant Jazz shades of things as well. "Hymns of Sudden Wafts" (1983) features some exploratory energy for soprano and tenor sax plus piano and harpsichord. So also listen in this vein to "Litany I" for saxophone quartet and "Litany II" for three flutes and alto flute, and then the flighty "Capriccio on the '75 New Year" (1975), a distinguished Improv-New Music intersection for soprano and baritone saxes and vibraphone.
The other works included in this volume have less overtly Jazz-oriented roots. They are dynamic and well-conceived regardless. I respond gladly to the rangy exploration of the solo clarinet in "Sonata"(1966), the dramatic balance of "Sunday Sonata" (1977) for bassoon and piano, and the sharp and stirring resonance of "Four Armenian Duets" (1966) for soprano, mezzo-soprano and piano.
The sum total of the program of Album XI gives us a fully rounded look at chamber Artyomov and affirms that he belongs in our attention span as a Russian voice of true merit, a Modern stylist of originality and inventive strength. I recommend this one heartily.