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Nikita Koshkin and Svetlana Mitryaikina  : Oratorium : CD

KOSHKIN: Sonata for Flute and Guitar in Three Movements; Oratorium Lacrimae; Dawn Fairy; May Song; Leda.

Nikita Koshkin with Svetlana Mitryaikina (Flute)

Kreuzberg Records ( Membran) : B0000658TT

Nikita Koshkin is well known throughout the guitar – verse for many areas and became universally known for his ground – breaking suite The Princes Toys as performed by Vladimir Mikulka. Growing up and being influenced by Russian  composers such as Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich, his sound is immediately modern to quite a big degree, and  although not completely atonal it constantly has a ‘new’ feel to it, that you don’t find in many other composers’ works.

All the pieces here are written for flute and guitar and so he is joined on this recording by Svetlana Mitryaikina .They open with the three –movement Sonata for flute and guitar, which is quite different in every way from what you might be expecting. Yes it is poetic and emotional but completely on its own, sound and harmony wise! The Allegro that completes this 21 minute piece jumps around and shows just how good the two performers are.

Oratorium Lachrimae is a six – movement suite beginning with a lovely Ave Maria, and then changing to a dramatic Dies Irae which has many different moments within its 6 minutes. Offertorium has an almost tango rhythm at the beginning with a deliberately off – key flute and some unusual ‘wrong – note’ harmonies. Tuba Mirum is a quick three – beats piece where the guitar plays minor chords and the flute plays a melody in the major, creating again that ‘wrong – note’ type of music that is typical of Koshkin for much of his writing. Credo, the fifth movement is slower and more thoughtful, whilst the final Gloria is vivacious and jumps around quite a bit in both parts, following an almost improvisatory sounding introduction where the flute has a few moments where the note drops down, creating a very strange sound.

Dawn Faery is in four movements, totaling only slightly more than 4 minutes in total beginning with a thoughtful Andantino, then a bouncy Allegretto, which is almost over before it has begun. The third movement Lento is quiet and restful, leading then to the final Presto, which is again very short and succinct, and full of action in its 40 seconds.

May Song is a tuneful piece that begins with a melody and accompaniment that drops semi tonally before becoming a lovely tune, and remaining very largely in a tonal style throughout.

Leda, surprisingly begins on the guitar quoting Bach’s Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring, before the flute enters over it, quoting Saint – Saen’s,The Swan from Carnival of the Animals ,  which sounds pleasant enough and does indeed work but did strike me as rather odd!

So in essence the performances are faultless, the sound ,clear and involving, and as long as you like the music of Nikita Koshkin, you will love this quite individual CD recording.

Chris Dumigan

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