Friday, December 4, 2020

A fine new Alexander Mosolov album

I'm really excited about the new Alexander Mosolov album issued by Naxos. It has 68 minutes of music that's never been available before, so it would be of interest even if the music wasn't that great. But in fact I like the album and expect to listen to it many times. 

The recordings feature Dutch born conductor Arthur Arnold, the Moscow Symphony Orchestra and harpist Taylor Ann Fleshman. There are two pieces: A harp concerto that dates to 1939, and a Fifth Symphony in E Minor that according to this chronology dates to 1960. The harp concerto is pretty and charming, four movements about 37 minutes; the three-movement symphony apparently was Mosolov's last. I wouldn't call the symphony avant garde, but it is interesting enough to hold my attention; the notes for the album (by Anthony Short) say, "Its colourful, if uncontroversial, scoring makes it an enjoyably fascinating addition to the corpus of neglected Soviet-era symphonies now seeing the light of day for the first time." That seems like a fair judgment to my ears.

Short's notes say about the harp concerto "Three of its movements were first performed in 1939 at the Moscow Conservatoire with Vera Dulova as the soloist, but the manuscript score and parts were subsequently consigned to oblivion before being rediscovered and restored for performance by the conductor Arthur Arnold." Short says the symphony was never performed in Mosolov's lifetime and was not even published until 1991.

I even like the album cover, a detail of Wassily Kandinsky's 1929 artwork Jocular Sounds

Taylor Ann Fleshman

Arthur Arnold

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