Wednesday, August 27, 2008


This will never happen to you again,” the conductor Leon Botstein announced from the stage, referring to the novelty of hearing even one Miaskovsky symphony performed live, let alone two. The first performed, No. 16 (1935-36), epitomized the kind of conservative style and heroic stature favored by Soviet officialdom, though its themes were flecked by tart dissonances: a form of coded protest, in Mr. Botstein’s view.

Symphony No. 13 (1933), by contrast, was a revelation, its three movements conjoined into a single span of nocturnal contemplation and disturbance. The performance lacked perfect cohesion and finesse, but still captured the spirit of a gripping work Miaskovsky felt compelled to dismiss in an article published three years after its debut.

Steve Smith NYT Aug 16

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