Let’s agree: a rare modern composer can boast of such success in his author’s concert, Alexander Tchaikovsky is a clear exception: his music is serious, deep and at the same time understandable, beautiful, and therefore interesting to the public. . Well, and another important property of Alexander Vladimirovich – he always carefully selects the performers of his music. These are not just talented musicians, but comrades-in-arms (maybe even co-authors in a certain sense) and friends, be it Yuri Bashmet (who, by the way, was sitting in the audience that evening, next to the “birthday”). boy”), or Alexander Sladkovsky, who, together with his State Orchestra of the Republic of Tatarstan, was on stage all night.
It was Alexander Sladkovsky who dedicated himself to the Fifth Symphony, the world premiere of which took place in 2021 in Kazan. The choice of him as the title of the evening in this case is more than understandable: the author really wanted the symphony to be played in the capital, and they were the first performers – the Tatarstan State Symphony Orchestra under the baton of its conducting artist. The score is not simple, intricate: a huge orchestra, many solos, incredible contrasts: tempo, dynamics, texture. It seems to be only two parts, 25 minutes, but the work is significant, capacious, eventful. At one pole – the oppressive and harsh atmosphere of our time, with its fears and pain … At the other – numbness, humility, contemplation of external beauty. And between these poles – energetic action, quite in the spirit of today.
The general anxious mood of the symphony, in my opinion, is close to Shostakovich, but Alexander Vladimirovich himself says that “of the great fifths, his offspring is closest to Mahler’s Fifth Symphony.” In part I agree, especially in the second part, when we hear the chords of the harps, Mahler’s favorite instrument. But it seems to me that the maestro did not forget about Beethoven’s Fifth either: in the first part, the drums “played” in complete silence… And although the rhythm was completely different, not Beethoven’s, the meaning is the same: this is how “Fate knocks on the door.” The composer paid special attention to the percussion group in the score: there are drums, timpani, cymbals, bells, tam-tam, snare (bar), vibraphone… Expressive vibraphone solos evoke new associations – with the music of Schnittke, Tariverdiev’s film successes. In general, the instrumentation of the Fifth is rich, sophisticated, one can feel the hand of a true connoisseur of a large orchestra, which, of course, is Alexander Tchaikovsky.
Unlike the symphony, the Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra that followed it is a work that has stood the test of time, is more in demand, and is frequently performed. Written 20 years ago at the initiative of a friend of the composer, the famous pianist Alexander Slobodyanik, who asked him to compose a “virtuoso, spectacular, percussive, easily perceptible to the public” concerto. The author completed the task brilliantly! The play immediately became a repertoire – who just did not play it! Slobodianik with Bronfman, Tchaikovsky himself with Diev, his daughter Daria Tchaikovskaya with Ksenia Bashmet, she with Boris Berezovsky, and finally Boris Berezovsky with Dmitry Masleev, who played her for the third time that night. Both soloists seemed to enjoy this energetic and upbeat music. And, although the composition is not easy, as Dima Masleev told me, it is not so difficult to play it, because it is written incredibly conveniently, “under the fingers.” I think that especially since the author himself played it and perfectly understands “what is good for the pianist and what is death for him.”
Also, as we remember, in the characterization that the composer makes of the concerto is the word “percussion”, which I think is important here. After all, sometimes we forget that the piano is a percussion and keyboard instrument, and in this case Alexander Tchaikovsky uses this “impact” to the maximum: both pianos act as if at the same time with the percussion group, creating a kind of of musical. constructivism in the spirit of early Shostakovich. In this moody and positive music you can hear the era of the 20s and 30s with its creative fusion, shocking Komsomol construction projects, sports parades and general enthusiasm.
But the semantic accent of the evening still became the “Russian Requiem” – a powerful fresco with the participation of two choirs: the Yurlov Chapel (artistic director Gennady Dmitryak) and the Great Popov Children’s Choir, headed by Anatoly Kislyakov, as well as soloists. – Natalia Petrozhitskaya and Olesya Petrova, organ (Evgeniya Krivitskaya) and, of course, GASO from Tatarstan. The 2005 composition, written for the 60th anniversary of the Great Victory, was repeatedly performed in different cities of the country – from Krasnodar to Krasnoyarsk), Alexander Sladkovsky also performed it in Moscow in 2006, but then with the New Russia orchestra. The author writes in the booklet that his Requiem “is not a funeral mass, but a lyrical composition that can sound in tune with our time.” And how it sounded! Of the eight parts, six are written in verses by Russian poets, hence the name. Already from the very beginning, the chorus of Tyutchev’s poetic miniature prophecy “The Last Cataclysm” (1829), shocked, literally crushed its topicality (it was on the day of the concert that the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station blew up):
“When the last hour of nature sounds, the composition of the terrestrial parts will collapse: everything visible will again be covered by water, and the face of God will be represented in them!
Yesenin’s “Mother’s Prayer” (1914) about the son who went to save his homeland in a foreign land, and Blok’s “The girl sang in the church choir” (1905), Brodsky’s tragic poems ” I’ll Come to Vasilyevsky Island to Die” (1962) and Zabolotsky (“When my life ends in my declining years”, 1947). These two penultimate parts are the culmination of the Requiem, literally scaring with a frenzied rush of power. The sixth part, based on verses by Brodsky, is reminiscent of the classic “Dies irae” (“Day of Wrath”) in terms of the nature of the music, here the mezzo (Olesya Petrova) sings with a breathy sound, chiseling each syllable . And in the penultimate, seventh part (“Zabolotsky’s Testament”), an organ appears for the first time and all participants in the action – soprano and mezzo – sing eerie duet lines: “Over your head, my distant great-grandson, I will fly to the sky like a slow bird…”
Well, in the end, a real prayer to the text of David’s psalm “God, I have been looking for you since dawn”, gradually melting, fading. A logical ending that reinforces the already strong impression of the program. It would seem that nothing is possible after such a catharsis, but Alexander Sladkovsky would not have been himself if he had not ended the evening with Tatarstan’s favorite encore – Tamerlane’s encore from Alexander Tchaikovsky’s opera The Legend of Yelets. The orchestra from him played himself: Alexander Sladkovsky, together with the hero of the evening, went backstage to appear in the last screams of the orchestra “Alga”, which means “Forward” in Tatar.