Boris Lyatoshynsky Symphony gets spirited performance

Boris Lyatoshynsky was a Ukrainian who spent a large part of his career working in Soviet Russia. It’s an important distinction. Soviet composers had to write music that followed political guidelines. In the case of Lyatoshynsky’s 1951 Third Symphony, it meant rewriting the finale.

The programmatic symphony was a reaction to the horrors of the Second World War, and particularly the impact on Ukraine. The original final movement represented Peace supplanting War. At the height of the Cold War, this ran counter to Soviet policies and almost caused the work to be permanently banned.

The symphony had already been heard in open rehearsals and was positively received. Lyatoshynsky substituted a new finale for the offending “bourgeois” movement. It allowed the authorities to let the work be heard (in some fashion) while saving face.

Of course, once the Soviet Union disintegrated, the original finale was restored, along with the original subtitle, “Peace shall defeat War.” That’s the version heard here. Maestro Kirill Karabits leads the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in a spirited performance. Lyatoshynsky was emotionally invested in this work, and this recording lays bare those emotions.

This is the second in the “Voices from the East” series. As with the first volume of music by Kara Karayev, Karabits and the Bournemouth Symphony deliver more treasures from former Soviet states. Music steeped in the character of their countries. Lyatoshynsky always considered himself a Ukrainian composer. The music in this release reaffirms that assertion.

However, you purchase this music, be sure to get the highest resolution possible. The SACD sound is full-bodied and finely detailed. That detail makes a huge difference in the understanding of Lytoshynsky’s works.

Boris Lyatoshynsky: Symphony No. 3; Grazhyna
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; Kirill Karabits, conductor
Chandos CHSA 5233

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