Alexander Mikhailov / Sergei Roldugin / Boris Tishchenko

Boris Tischenko: Sonata for Cello; Sonata for Piano & Bells

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Not one of the better known composers to westerners, Russian composer Boris Ivanovich Tischenko has nevertheless produced an abundant body of works since his first graduation from the Leningrad Conservatory in 1954. In addition to composing for nearly every major genre, he had thus far produced a total of 10 piano sonatas and four sonatas for solo string instruments. From these, Northern Flowers has chosen the Second Sonata for Cello Solo (1979) and the Seventh Piano Sonata (1982), written for piano and bells. Tischenko's style is a difficult one to pin down. Although he studied with Shostakovich, the influence on these two works seems rather minimal. Rather, Tischenko seems to go out on his own path making great use of rhythmic and motivic development coupled with a unique harmonic language. Dynamics are also important to Tischenko's scores, running the gamut from the imperceptibly quiet to the monstrously loud. Such is certainly the case in the Cello Sonata, performed here by Sergey Roldugin. In an effort to achieve some of these more robust dynamics, Roldugin all too often seems to sacrifice sound quality, however, producing a very strained, forced, unpleasant quality from his instrument, particularly in the upper registers. Other aspects of his technical execution are acceptable, yet intonation is not always precise and rhythm seems to be less exacting than Tischenko seems to have had in mind. The Piano Sonata No. 7 is performed by Tischenko himself, along with Alexander Mikhaylov on bells. The combination of these two timbres is an unusual one that seems to work well together. Here, the importance of rhythmic integrity is much more apparent in Tischenko's playing. His instrument's recorded sound quality is a bit on the nasal side. The disc's liner notes are awkwardly translated.

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