This is music of brute force and elemental clout. The listener absolutely cannot resist the penetrating power of the three pieces brought together on this CD by the Gewandhaus concertmaster Andreas Seidel and the perennial discoverer Steffen Schleiermacher. Galina Ustvolskaya’s compositions surpass all analysis, pleasurable listening, and (to a certain extent even) interpretation.
Throughout her life Ustvolskaya did her part to promote an air of mystique - no interviews, no photographs, only a very few personal statements, and a religious mystification of her oeuvre above all during her later years, creating an aura of inapproachability and inscrutability. Ustvolskaya’s uncompromising musical language has occasionally earned her the title of a “heavy hitter.” Her Piano Sonata No. 5, which Steffen Schleiermacher has placed between the Violin Sonata and the concluding Duet, shows why this is so. In Schleiermacher’s hands the sixfold fortissimo, which along with the extraordinary note clusters, calls attention to itself even in the printed score, is conveyed to the listener with explosive force. And Andreas Seidel spares neither himself nor his instrument in order to hurl Ustvolskaya’s totalitarian tones toward the audience. A musical experience that we will not so soon forget! Andreas Seidel and Steffen Schleiermacher have recorded the works of Satie, John Cage and Morton Feldman for MDG in the past to great critical acclaim.
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