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Galina Ustvolskaya: Composition No. 2 "Dies Irae"; Sonata No. 6 / Rohan de Saram, Marino Formenti

Album Summary

>Ustvolskaya, Galina : Composition II, for 8 double basses & piano ("Dies irae")
>Ustvolskaya, Galina : Sonata for Piano no 6
>Ustvolskaya, Galina : Grand duet for cello & piano
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

At the beginning of her career, Galina Ustvolskaya, today known as one of the greatest female composers of Russia, was regarded as an outsider in the Association of Composers of the former USSR. The fact that she mainly composed for the desk drawer, however, was not only due to the repressive ignorance surrounding her, but also due to creative psychological reasons: "My work routine is considerably different from that of other composers. I write when I get into a state of grace. Afterwards, the work is left to rest for a while, and when its time has come, I will release it. When it's time doesn't come, I destroy it."

'Grand Duet' for cello and piano (1959) is one of the pieces created past politically enforced concessions - at that time without any prospect of a performance and a publishing house. This is why it could not be played until many years later. After a creative hiatus of several years, the first work created was the three-part series 'Compositions'. To each of the three compositions, Ustvolskya added a subtitle from parts of the Latin Mass Liturgy: 'Composition No. 2' (1972/73) received the addition of 'Diesirae' - just one example of the affinity of her music to spirituality: "Although my works are not religious in the liturgical sense, they are filled with a religious spirit."

Ustvolskaya's six piano sonatas composed between the end of her studies with Shostakovich in 1947 and 1988 consist mainly of one-part sequences of tones or powerful clusters of a rather percussive character - like her 'Sonata No. 6'. However, the piano appears in Ustvolskaya's entire oeuvre and can be seen as the alter ego of her identity as a composer.

"[Ustvolskaya] was a reclusive figure whose mature music deals mostly in extremes...the Grand Duet for cello and piano (1959) is an example of oppositional chamber music, anti-conversational, as if the performers are individuals who talk at and over each other. And yet there’s something that makes it all utterly gripping." -The Irish Times

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Rassegna di Nuova Musica, Macerata, Italy (04/12/2010-04/14/2010).



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Works Details

>Ustvolskaya, Galina : Composition II, for 8 double basses & piano ("Dies irae")
  • Performers: Laura Mancini (Wood Block); Fabrizio Ottaviucci (Piano)
  • Conductor: Stefano Scodanibbio
  • Ensemble: Ludus Gravis
  • Notes: Rassegna di Nuova Musica, Macerata, Italy (04/12/2010-04/14/2010)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1972-1973

>Ustvolskaya, Galina : Sonata for Piano no 6
  • Performer: Marino Formenti (Piano)
  • Notes: Rassegna di Nuova Musica, Macerata, Italy (04/12/2010-04/14/2010)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1988

>Ustvolskaya, Galina : Grand duet for cello & piano
  • Performers: Rohan de Saram (Cello); Marino Formenti (Piano)
  • Notes: Rassegna di Nuova Musica, Macerata, Italy (04/12/2010-04/14/2010)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1959