For listeners who have digested all 27 symphonies by Soviet modernist master Nikolay Myaskovsky and are still hungry for more, here are four lighter orchestral works for dessert. However, if those listeners expect either the pessimistic post-Romanticism or the optimistic Socialist Realism of Myaskovsky's symphonies, they may be disappointed by Links, the Slav Rhapsody, the Serenade No. 1, and the Sinfonietta. All four works are well-written and tuneful, plus, except for brief passages, all four works eschew Romanticism and Realism for an all-purpose lyricism and rhythmic vivacity. Performed with the same degree of intensity and dedication brought to the same composer's symphonies by Evgeny Svetlanov and the Russian Federation Academic Symphony Orchestra, these works are to Myaskovsky's larger oeuvre as Shostakovich's Festive Overture or ballet suite is to his larger oeuvre: a bright and cheerful diversion in an otherwise serious body of work. Recorded in surprisingly sharp and vivid sound, this disc won't be for everyone. But those listeners who enjoy Soviet music of the middle years of the twentieth century should by all means try it.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Links (Zvenya), suite for orchestra, Op. 65|
|Serenade for small orchestra in E flat major, Op. 32/1|
|Sinfonietta for small orchestra No. 1 in A major, Op. 10|