Sergey Ivanovich Taneyev, Gnesin Academy Chorus, Thomas Sanderling - Suite de Concert and Cantata: Ioann Damaskin

Published Thursday 26th November 2009
Sergey Ivanovich Taneyev, Gnesin Academy Chorus, Thomas Sanderling - Suite de Concert and Cantata: Ioann Damaskin
Sergey Ivanovich Taneyev, Gnesin Academy Chorus, Thomas Sanderling - Suite de Concert and Cantata: Ioann Damaskin

STYLE: Choral
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 87040-
LABEL: Naxos 8570527
FORMAT: CD Album
ITEMS: 1

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

I have filed this under choral even though 46 out of 73 minutes on this CD are orchestral as the 'Suite De Concert' featuring Ilya Kaler on violin, pleasant though it is, falls beyond the remit of this review. However the Cantata is well worth noticing and at the usual super-budget price from Naxos perhaps some of our more adventurous listeners may take a chance on it. A nephew of Alexander Sergeyevich Taneyev, Taneyev was a pupil of Tchaikovsky at the Moscow Conservatory, studying the piano with the director of the Conservatory, Nikolay Rubinstein. He gradually assumed fuller responsibility at the Conservatory, of which he became director in 1885. His pupils included Scriabin and Rachmaninov and the latter obviously paid attention to his teacher as listeners to this disc will hear. Inspired by a poem by Aleksey Tolstoy, a member of the famous literary family, Taneyev's cantata "John Of Damascus" was the first work that the self-critical composer deemed worthy of an opus number in 1884. The sublime music draws on an ancient chant woven into rich passages of expressive counterpoint. St John Damascene was born in the seventh century and lived on into the eighth and was a writer and poet revered in both the western, Catholic and eastern, Orthodox churches. Taneyev's use of an ancient melody helps us to look back across the centuries but the way he uses his themes is within the Romantic tradition that Rachmaninov was to develop so effectively. In some ways this is little more than a musical curiosity but the fact that a conductor as renowned as Thomas Sanderling is bringing this to our attention means it is worth hearing and if you enjoy the bonus of the violin suite it is an absolute bargain.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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