Monday, May 7, 2012

Chargeishvili : The Symphony

The picture shows the composer Chargeishvili, Nektarios Nektariosovich (1937-1971), with his wife. Chargeishvili committed suicide shortly after the premiere of his symphony, on which he had worked passionately. The work was hostilely received, and this, combined with the repressive police state of the USSR in the late sixties proved too much for him.

The work is fascinating, with its obvious links to the music of Scriabin (that must have delighted the KGB!) as well as affinities with the sound world of Kanchelli. 

There seem to have been just one performance since the failed premiere, from which this recording is taken: at the "Moscow Autumn" festival of 1990. The conductor of the unknown orchestra is identified as Dmitry Liss. And the only copy of the recording in circulation is at a modest 128 kbs (it crops up in several places, including on YouTube, but it's always the same recording). In any event, the work is so striking that I urge you to listen anyway. 

The photo haunts me. Those two faces. Two lives ruined. And a symphony that stands like a bleak memorial to them. I cannot even find the name of his wife. Does anyone out there know? Or know what became or her?

Chargeishvili, Nektarios Nektariosovich (1937-1971)

Recorded from Festival "Moscow Autumn" 1990 
Dmitry Liss (Conductor), Unknown Orchestra
Digitised by an unknown person, apparently from the sole recording of the performance

mp3 128 kbs
Download from Rapidshare

1 comment:

  1. The work does not sound all that original - it is heavily indebted to German Expressionism of decades earlier (e.g., Erdmann's and Krenek's symphonies) - but I was still found it quite fascinating for a couple of reasons.

    One is that Chargeishvili's teacher was the Party apparatchick (and a certified Communist Motherfucker) Tikhon Khrennikov: as thoroughly untalented and unoriginal a composer as could be found in the world of Soviet music. How Chargeishvili survived this kind of mentoring is a question of considerable interest.

    Another is that the symphony, despite its outdated atonal romanticism and its 19th century use of rhythm and percussion - is unlike anything I recall having heard from Soviet composers. It is neither abrasively "avant-garde" in the mode of the early works of Schnittke and Denisov, nor does it ape Shostakovich's and Prokofiev's manipulations of extended tonality. In short, the work struck me as utterly un-Soviet, and that alone elicited a good deal of admiration from me.

    Ultimately, I think that if given a less congested recorded sound and more polished performance, the symphony could be very effective.