Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Vyacheslav Artyomov - Invocations (1991 compi, rec. 1981-90)

Haven't posted anything in a while by Artyomov, the Russian composer (b. 1940, Moscow) who started to fascinate me a couple of years ago, so here's something I just got hold of, featuring four of his works for percussion.  These recordings were performed by Mark Pekarsky and his percussion ensemble, with a soprano part by Lidia Davydova on Invocations.  That one's a four part work, as is the Sonata Of Meditations; the Olympia disc (cover above) was pressed with these works as just one track apiece, so I've added in the proper divisions as per the Melodiya release.

All of these percussive works show Artyomov's interest in the ancient and the ritualistic, in contrast to his more religious music (e.g. Requiem, link below).  Totem (composed 1976) and Ave Atque Vale (1989) are self-contained pieces, and run the full range of percussive sounds and dynamics.  A Sonata Of Meditations (1978) is structured over the course of a day, like Indian ragas; there's a Morning Meditation, an Afternoon Meditation, a nice contemplative Evening one, and my favourite, the playful but still eerie Midnight one, with the most focus on tuned percussion.

The strangest work of all is Invocations, composed from 1979-1981.  As mentioned above, the Perkasky Ensemble are joined by the great Russian soprano of early music and the avant-garde, Lidia Davydova (1932-2011), who could be likened to a Soviet Joan La Barbara in her championing of the most experimental and complex vocal material.  Here she adds not just a great soprano performance, but many different voice sounds that take this work into another dimension, particularly in the most ritualistic Invocation of Sounds-of Fire.  It's clear why this compilation has Invocations up front in the title - the other works are very good, but this one is essential listening.
Russian CD cover


Artyomov previously posted at SGTG: Elegies / Requiem

Other essential posts for percussive obsessives:
Steve Reich's Drumming
Iannis Xenakis' Pléiades / Psappha
Hugues Dufourt's Erewhon 
Les Percussions De Strasbourg compilation

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