Author Topic: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)  (Read 103290 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Irons

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1785
  • Location: Surrey, UK
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #460 on: March 04, 2020, 07:33:49 AM »
How is this set?



I will confess, I've only heard No. 6 but many posts here make me want to remedy that.

Go with the Alto set of the same recordings.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline vandermolen

  • Silver Subscriber
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 16828
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #461 on: March 04, 2020, 07:47:31 AM »
12th Symphony.

Roughly half way on a journey through a set of symphonies which has never been dull or routine, quite the opposite as Miaskovsky always has a surprise or two up his sleeve. The 12th on paper with the long opening slow movement followed by two quicker ones seems unbalanced, which it is in a way but not in the way expected.

Quite simply the 1st movement is a symphonic nocturne. The wide open plains of the Russian countryside under a pitch black night sky are caught so evocatively that it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! There is a contrasting section of a scene from village life, also brilliantly done, but the movement ends as it began, music of the night.

After that, the following two movements were a bit after the Lord Mayor's show for me. Is it this unevenness the reason that Miaskovsky is not a household name like his good friend, Prokofiev? Saying that, the latter did not write anything remotely close as an evocation of a time and place as the first movement of Miaskovsky's 12th.
Another nice analysis and totally agree with you about the opening movement of Symphony No.12 'Kolkhoz'. I find a similar experience with Symphony 25.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vandermolen

  • Silver Subscriber
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 16828
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #462 on: March 04, 2020, 07:50:03 AM »
How is this set?



I will confess, I've only heard No. 6 but many posts here make me want to remedy that.
I agree with Lol (Irons) but I'm biased as I had some involvement with the Alto set. I think that the Alto pressings (from the original Olympia discs) are superior to the ones on Warner and the Alto set includes detailed notes whereas the Warner set includes next-to-nothing. Try symphonies 3,17,21, 24 and 27 for starters 16 has a marvellous, lugubrious slow movement. If you want to investigate Miaskovsky beyond the 6th Symphony this is a good 3 CD set to start with:
« Last Edit: March 04, 2020, 07:56:31 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline relm1

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1074
  • Location: California
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #463 on: March 04, 2020, 05:39:30 PM »
I agree with Lol (Irons) but I'm biased as I had some involvement with the Alto set. I think that the Alto pressings (from the original Olympia discs) are superior to the ones on Warner and the Alto set includes detailed notes whereas the Warner set includes next-to-nothing. Try symphonies 3,17,21, 24 and 27 for starters 16 has a marvellous, lugubrious slow movement. If you want to investigate Miaskovsky beyond the 6th Symphony this is a good 3 CD set to start with:


Am I missing out by not exploring Miaskovsky beyond No. 6?  For example, I don't feel like I'm missing out on not hearing all of Leif Segerstam's 337 symphonies.  There might be some really great stuff in there, but nothing I've heard makes me want to hear more.  That is in contrast to other prolific composers like Derek Bourgeois' 116 entries where I find a unique sound but wide range, an unraveling journey of sorts.  Very few composers deserve to have all their symphonies heard. 

Offline J

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 198
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #464 on: March 04, 2020, 08:02:36 PM »
Very few composers deserve to have all their symphonies heard.

But we have to have heard all of them to know that, right?

Offline vandermolen

  • Silver Subscriber
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 16828
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #465 on: March 04, 2020, 11:49:58 PM »
Am I missing out by not exploring Miaskovsky beyond No. 6?  For example, I don't feel like I'm missing out on not hearing all of Leif Segerstam's 337 symphonies.  There might be some really great stuff in there, but nothing I've heard makes me want to hear more.  That is in contrast to other prolific composers like Derek Bourgeois' 116 entries where I find a unique sound but wide range, an unraveling journey of sorts.  Very few composers deserve to have all their symphonies heard.
Personally I think that you're missing out by not hearing nos 17, 21 and 27, for example, if you don't know them. At least try the poetic No.21 - it is very short, in one movement, and there are several good recordings. Alto has an inexpensive CD linking 17 and 21 which IMO are two of the best.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2020, 01:50:46 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Irons

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1785
  • Location: Surrey, UK
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #466 on: March 05, 2020, 12:58:38 AM »
Am I missing out by not exploring Miaskovsky beyond No. 6?  For example, I don't feel like I'm missing out on not hearing all of Leif Segerstam's 337 symphonies.  There might be some really great stuff in there, but nothing I've heard makes me want to hear more.  That is in contrast to other prolific composers like Derek Bourgeois' 116 entries where I find a unique sound but wide range, an unraveling journey of sorts.  Very few composers deserve to have all their symphonies heard.

To really get to know a body of work I think it no bad thing to take the rough with the smooth. Cherry picking is all very well - as already been said how do you know? Once I have listened to all the symphonies I can return to the ones I like best, but more importantly I (in my own way) know and understand his symphonies in the whole.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2020, 01:02:41 AM by Irons »
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline amw

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4353
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #467 on: March 05, 2020, 01:49:11 AM »
I have listened to all of the Myaskovsky symphonies and I don't regret it; there are clear highlights (3, 5, 6, 8, 13; the slow movements of 11, 20, 25 & 27, many of which feature Myaskovsky's favourite Italian adjective elevato) but none of them are "bad" and even the pieces I don't like as much are still fun to listen to.

Offline relm1

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1074
  • Location: California
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #468 on: March 06, 2020, 05:42:50 PM »
My report so far.  Yesterday I listened to Symphony No. 21 and today No. 3.  I enjoyed these works, preferred No. 21 more but can certainly understand why this is a composer worth hearing.  No. 3 second movement sounds a bit like a restrained funeral procession.  This is not Shostakovich nor Mahler’s dirge but more like early Rimsky-Korsakov.  I think one of the complaints I have about this music is it feels mid 19th century.  The harmony and instrumentation is very conservative where my preferences tend to lie in 20th century.  I keep missing some dissonance or expanded percussion.  It is finely crafted but would better suited to someone who favors Brahms or Glazunov.    In contrast, I find Lyadov who was born a generation earlier than Myakovsky far more interesting musically.  That doesn’t mean Myaskovsky is bad, just not that interesting.  I am very happy to explore his music further and enjoy what I’ve heard, I just feel like I haven’t heard something I will revisit.  Any suggestions of where next I should listen?  Otherwise I’ll go sequentially. 

Offline vandermolen

  • Silver Subscriber
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 16828
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #469 on: March 07, 2020, 02:07:35 AM »
My report so far.  Yesterday I listened to Symphony No. 21 and today No. 3.  I enjoyed these works, preferred No. 21 more but can certainly understand why this is a composer worth hearing.  No. 3 second movement sounds a bit like a restrained funeral procession.  This is not Shostakovich nor Mahler’s dirge but more like early Rimsky-Korsakov.  I think one of the complaints I have about this music is it feels mid 19th century.  The harmony and instrumentation is very conservative where my preferences tend to lie in 20th century.  I keep missing some dissonance or expanded percussion.  It is finely crafted but would better suited to someone who favors Brahms or Glazunov.    In contrast, I find Lyadov who was born a generation earlier than Myakovsky far more interesting musically.  That doesn’t mean Myaskovsky is bad, just not that interesting.  I am very happy to explore his music further and enjoy what I’ve heard, I just feel like I haven’t heard something I will revisit.  Any suggestions of where next I should listen?  Otherwise I’ll go sequentially.
Interesting to read your views. I rather like the 'restrained funeral procession' of No.3. My advice would be to listen to the valedictory No.27 which has a wonderful slow movement although I find the whole work, including the inspiriting last movement written when Miaskovsky was terminally ill, very moving. Nos 8 and 16 have fine slow movements. No.23 is very tuneful and I'd strongly recommend 15,17,24 and 25 as well. 24 and 25 are together on a Naxos CD. Which recordings did you listen to? Your point about Glazunov rang true as I often listen to his music.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline relm1

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1074
  • Location: California
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #470 on: March 07, 2020, 07:01:31 AM »
Interesting to read your views. I rather like the 'restrained funeral procession' of No.3. My advice would be to listen to the valedictory No.27 which has a wonderful slow movement although I find the whole work, including the inspiriting last movement written when Miaskovsky was terminally ill, very moving. Nos 8 and 16 have fine slow movements. No.23 is very tuneful and I'd strongly recommend 15,17,24 and 25 as well. 24 and 25 are together on a Naxos CD. Which recordings did you listen to? Your point about Glazunov rang true as I often listen to his music.

I listened to Alto/Svetlanov.  The complete set is on spotify.

Offline vandermolen

  • Silver Subscriber
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 16828
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #471 on: March 07, 2020, 09:25:38 AM »
I listened to Alto/Svetlanov.  The complete set is on spotify.
Excellent. Hope you continue to find them of interest.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Irons

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1785
  • Location: Surrey, UK
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #472 on: March 10, 2020, 01:31:23 AM »
My report so far.  Yesterday I listened to Symphony No. 21 and today No. 3.  I enjoyed these works, preferred No. 21 more but can certainly understand why this is a composer worth hearing.  No. 3 second movement sounds a bit like a restrained funeral procession.  This is not Shostakovich nor Mahler’s dirge but more like early Rimsky-Korsakov.  I think one of the complaints I have about this music is it feels mid 19th century.  The harmony and instrumentation is very conservative where my preferences tend to lie in 20th century.  I keep missing some dissonance or expanded percussion.  It is finely crafted but would better suited to someone who favors Brahms or Glazunov.    In contrast, I find Lyadov who was born a generation earlier than Myakovsky far more interesting musically.  That doesn’t mean Myaskovsky is bad, just not that interesting.  I am very happy to explore his music further and enjoy what I’ve heard, I just feel like I haven’t heard something I will revisit.  Any suggestions of where next I should listen?  Otherwise I’ll go sequentially.

You make some valid points that have the ring of truth. It is a fact I find Miaskovsky more interesting then you do, but I concede he can be ultra-conventional at times, the second and third movements of the 12th for example but what about the nocturnal 1st which is anything but. I find Miaskovsky much more interesting then Glazunov. Anyway, the reason for this preamble is Miaskovsky's relationship, or not, with modernism. On attending a 1912 concert of Pelleas and Melisande conducted by Schoenberg in St. Petersburg, Miaskovsky wrote the following -

This composition is long and very intricate in its content and abundance of thematic material; it is also extremely complex and refined in its harmony and original orchestration. And though the subjects and ideas are many and strange, they are, at the same time, knit into a web of iron logic. The work is notable for the noble quality of its details and astounding technical virtuosity and finally it is so fervent that notwithstanding its length one not only listens to it without boredom or fatigue but with ever growing interest and delight.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline vandermolen

  • Silver Subscriber
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 16828
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #473 on: March 10, 2020, 05:40:13 AM »
You make some valid points that have the ring of truth. It is a fact I find Miaskovsky more interesting then you do, but I concede he can be ultra-conventional at times, the second and third movements of the 12th for example but what about the nocturnal 1st which is anything but. I find Miaskovsky much more interesting then Glazunov. Anyway, the reason for this preamble is Miaskovsky's relationship, or not, with modernism. On attending a 1912 concert of Pelleas and Melisande conducted by Schoenberg in St. Petersburg, Miaskovsky wrote the following -

This composition is long and very intricate in its content and abundance of thematic material; it is also extremely complex and refined in its harmony and original orchestration. And though the subjects and ideas are many and strange, they are, at the same time, knit into a web of iron logic. The work is notable for the noble quality of its details and astounding technical virtuosity and finally it is so fervent that notwithstanding its length one not only listens to it without boredom or fatigue but with ever growing interest and delight.
Very nice! Thanks for posting.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline relm1

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1074
  • Location: California
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #474 on: March 10, 2020, 06:10:35 AM »
You make some valid points that have the ring of truth. It is a fact I find Miaskovsky more interesting then you do, but I concede he can be ultra-conventional at times, the second and third movements of the 12th for example but what about the nocturnal 1st which is anything but. I find Miaskovsky much more interesting then Glazunov. Anyway, the reason for this preamble is Miaskovsky's relationship, or not, with modernism. On attending a 1912 concert of Pelleas and Melisande conducted by Schoenberg in St. Petersburg, Miaskovsky wrote the following -

This composition is long and very intricate in its content and abundance of thematic material; it is also extremely complex and refined in its harmony and original orchestration. And though the subjects and ideas are many and strange, they are, at the same time, knit into a web of iron logic. The work is notable for the noble quality of its details and astounding technical virtuosity and finally it is so fervent that notwithstanding its length one not only listens to it without boredom or fatigue but with ever growing interest and delight.

Interesting quote.  I think one bias I have against Miaskovsky is that he is near contemporaries are so much more experimental like Prokofiev and Scriabin but even when they were conventional they were still interesting.  I do like some of Miaskovsky's so far, but I also get the sense I don't need to hear more.  Like I've already heard the music to the works I've never heard before.  I will keep chipping away at it thought, just not on the top of the list of music to explore. 

Offline j winter

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 799
  • Location: Newark, DE USA
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #475 on: March 10, 2020, 07:07:36 AM »
Alto have recently collected all the original Olymia recordings and the ones that Alto released after the collapse of Olympia into a boxed set:


Just FYI, I picked up the whole set yesterday on MP3 from Amazon for $7.99.  Looking forward to exploring it...
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted.

-- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Offline Irons

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1785
  • Location: Surrey, UK
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #476 on: March 10, 2020, 07:20:39 AM »
Just FYI, I picked up the whole set yesterday on MP3 from Amazon for $7.99.  Looking forward to exploring it...

Do tell what you think either negative or positive. Good to hear other impressions.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline vandermolen

  • Silver Subscriber
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 16828
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #477 on: March 10, 2020, 07:26:21 AM »
Just FYI, I picked up the whole set yesterday on MP3 from Amazon for $7.99.  Looking forward to exploring it...
Great! Let us know what you think.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Irons

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1785
  • Location: Surrey, UK
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #478 on: March 17, 2020, 02:18:09 PM »
Symphonies no.13 & no.15.

That there is an absence of linear progression in Miaskovsky’s symphonies is illustrated here. Written within the same year the composer makes a big leap into the 20th Century with the 13th and back to the world of Tchaikovsky and Gluzunov with the 15th. Also non-linear is recording quality with the 13th outstanding and 15th less so. I hope this didn’t colour my judgment, but I admit it possible.

The 13th is made of serious stuff, I would go as far as describing as grim. Some telling use of percussion adds to the doom laden feel of this single movement 20 minute symphony. It matches the mood the whole world feels at the present time. I am greatly impressed with the work and will return.

Cards on table, I didn’t make a connection with the 15th with the caveat I have, unlike the 13th, only listened once. This well thought of symphony, I’m sorry to say, rather passed me by.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline Irons

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1785
  • Location: Surrey, UK
Re: Nikolay Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
« Reply #479 on: March 24, 2020, 01:46:17 AM »
Symphony no.16 "Aviation Symphony".



The crash of "Maxim Gorky" aeroplane is an incredible story. Miaskovsky wrote a symphony which will in the fullness of time stop this tragic event being forgotten - I was unaware, but not now! Not a program symphony, in fact the only part of the symphony that depicts the actual plane/crash (far as I'm aware) is the finale coda. Miaskovsky is more subtle as he alludes to the event without depicting it.

The first movement alternates in typical Miaskovsky fashion between a vigorous Waltonesque march and a secondary noble theme. The march comes out tops.

The second movement has nothing to do with aeroplanes but instead a beautiful pastoral scene. I have always thought that Russian and English music can be alike. Never more so then here, the opening with an oboe's soft tone is RVW to a tee. Best movement of the symphony for me.

A funeral march makes up the third movement for, I would imagine, the 45 who perished on the fateful day of the crash.

Initially I was  flummoxed by the finale. The last thing expected after the previous grave procession was a celebration (based on a song)! But the penny eventually dropped. The national pride of a feat of aero-engineering and at the end of the symphony, the crash, and stunned realisation. 
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.