Myaskovsky: Symphonies No. 1, 25

Russian Federation Academic Symphony Orchestra, Svetlanov

This music can possess you. If the poetic gloom found in music by Sergei Rachmaninoff or Peter Illich Tchaikovsky pulls your heartstrings, the music in Nikolai Myaskovsky’s Symphony No. 25 will stick with you. This heart-on-the-sleeve romanticism, full of recycling “motto” themes, with moments of joy and sorrow, touches one’s soul. It is also brilliantly constructed—a three-movement symphony in the Tchaikovsky-meets-Alexander Borodin tradition. From the gentle sighs of the opening strings to the big romantic tune on clarinet, blending into full orchestra, you’ll know, this is Russian Romantic music with two capital R’s. The second movement is like a mysterious short poem, and the finale, “Impetuoso,” throws you into heroic conflict. Cliché never comes to mind, despite the classic Hollywood movie sounds. Bravo!