Raykhelson: Orchestral Music Vol. 3
I base my comments upon the Piano Concerto only, having not yet heard the Cello Concerto. My hopes for this work were wonderfully realised, the booklet notes by the esteemed Malcolm Macdonald having whetted my appetite. Recorded sound is exemplary, performances seem ideal (and with Boris Beresovsky at his magisterial best - what a coup!) and Russian orchestra and conductor Hobart Earle appear to have this new music already under their skins, so as to produce a superlative, authoritative performance. Which only leaves the music itself!! Raykhelson was a new name to me till about 2 weeks ago. Now I want to follow every twist and turn of this new stellar talent's career, thanks to the fantastic pioneering work of Toccata Classics. An addict for half a century of piano concertos, I am elated to discover a brilliantly gifted composer returning to the infinitely rich world of the Romantic Concerto, as developed especially in Russia by Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Scriabin and Medtner. Raykhelson absorbs and transmutes all these influences, plus those of Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Shchedrin and Kapustin, into a lush, jazz-inflected style all his own, and the result is an amazing triumph of composition as well as a marvellous listening experience. To have M. Macdonald confirming one's own impressions is immensely reassuring, for here is a writer and musicologist intimately familiar with, among others, Havergal Brian AND ALL 32 OF HIS SYMPHONIES.
This is a discovery that one feels privileged to have lived long enough to make and enjoy, even in the 21st century. It proves the utter fallacy of music's worth only being in the degree to which it conforms to the prejudices of fashionable cliques to whom glorious melody and revival of Romantic idiom are anathema. The BBC Proms should programme the piece as soon as possible.
Congratulations and thanks to all concerned. May there be much else of this quality from this source of rarest musical gold!
21 March 2014