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Mosolov After The Iron Foundry

David Hurwitz

Artistic Quality:

Sound Quality:

Talk about one shot wonders! Alexander Mosolov, as an orchestral composer at least, is known for his three-and-a-half minute futurist essay The Iron Foundry. That work dates from 1927, but the composer lived until 1973. After going through the usual Stalinist purges and accusations of formalist heresy, he knuckled under and became a committed Socialist Realist, but perhaps he just wasn’t that talented to begin with. The Fifth Symphony (1965) contains three movements of melodically uninteresting, plodding pseudo-heroism. I found its thirty-one minutes to be almost interminable in their lack of contrast and tepid expressive differentiation, but you may look at it more indulgently. Certainly the music falls easily on the ear.

The Harp Concerto is a big improvement, and not just because I happen to be sucker for harp concertos generally. Inspired by the similar work of Mosolov’s teacher, Glière, the work is attractively written for the soloist, and far more contrasted in tone and atmosphere than the symphony. It’s an ambitious piece: four movements lasting thirty-seven minutes, but as played here by soloist Taylor Ann Fleshman, the time passes by pleasantly enough. Truth to tell, both works sound very good as performed by the Moscow Symphony under Arthur Arnold, and for anyone curious about the minor highways and byways of Soviet-era music, this disc will likely prove a mandatory acquisition. Just don’t let the fun and games of The Iron Foundry lead you to expect more than the circumstances of the time permitted composers of limited ability like Mosolov.

Buy Now from Arkiv Music

Recording Details:

Reference Recording: None

  • Record Label: Naxos - 8.574102
  • Medium: CD

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