Boris Tishchenko: Complete works for Harp. © 2020 Naxos Rights (Europe) Ltd

CD Spotlight

Psychological Acuity

Music for harp by Boris Tishchenko

'... challenging but highly rewarding music, passionately performed and sumptuously recorded.'


Boris Tishchenko (1939-2010) is often considered to be the direct heir of Dmitri Shostakovich. Born in Leningrad on 23 March 1939, the young Boris studied with the renowned Galina Ustvolskaya, the one-time pupil of Shostakovich, and when at the Leningrad Conservatory he undertook a postgraduate course with the great master during the years 1962-65. Active as a piano soloist and in chamber music, he taught at the St Petersburg Conservatory from 1965 onwards. By the time of his demise on 9 December 2010, Tischchenko's list of works numbered over 150; indeed, he contributed to all important genres, and folk and ethnic music played a very significant part in his musical thinking.

His undogmatic approach to tonality won him the approval of the same Shostakovich, who found the Third Symphony full of rich emotions, structural logic and clarity of thought. After 1975 Tishchenko started to lean more towards chamber and instrumental music, composing eleven piano sonatas and six string quartets in the process. One must not forget the five 'Dante' Symphonies based on Dante's Divina Commedia which, in my opinion, are among the finest symphonic achievements of the composer.

The three works on this album all feature the harp in either a primary or supporting role. To my Brother was written in 1986 and is a sad elegy in memory of Tishchenko's brother, Mikhail, a renowned scientist.

Listen — Boris Tishchenko: To my Brother
(track 1, 0:02-1:01) © 2020 Naxos Rights (Europe) Ltd :

Testament, dating also from 1986, is imbued with an air of nostalgic regret at the end of one's life. Both include soprano and harp, but the latter also includes an organ, while the former incorporates a flute.

Listen — Boris Tishchenko: Testament
(track 2, 0:00-0:48) © 2020 Naxos Rights (Europe) Ltd :

The 1977 Harp Concerto is in five movements which are played without a pause. The work is unique for expanding the harp's expressive range and the soloist is required to alternate between two instruments. There is no wanton display here, but rather the music focuses on psychological acuity, performed with an essentially inward drama.

Listen — Boris Tishchenko: Andante (Harp Concerto)
(track 7, 2:11-3:04) © 2020 Naxos Rights (Europe) Ltd :

This is challenging but highly rewarding music, passionately performed and sumptuously recorded. Excellent notes are an added bonus.

Copyright © 20 April 2020 Gerald Fenech,
Gzira, Malta





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