Airat Ichmouratov Symphony a tonal masterwork

Some of my classical music friends are convinced that the art form died in the 1920s — and Schoenberg killed it. Contemporary music is uniformly academic, difficult to perform, and even harder to listen to. Airat Ichmouratov is but one of several contemporary composers who refute those stereotypes time and again.

Ichmouratov is a true eclectic. Born in Russia, Ichmouratov lives and works in Montreal. Though a practicing Muslim, he also has a deep love of Klezmer music, and even plays clarinet in a Montreal-based Klezmer ensemble.

Ichmouratov fuses classical and popular styles together to create music that’s engaging, substantial, and accessible to both serious and casual listeners. Ichouratov is the master of orchestral color, as the three works in this release demonstrate.

Ichmouratov’s Symphony is subtitled “On the Ruins of an Ancient Fort.” His orchestrations effectively evoke impressions of this fort and its rich history. What I best enjoyed about Ichmouratov’s music was its originality. Contemporary tonal music can often sound like movie music. Not here. Ichmouratov’s orchestrations are refreshingly different, without sounding derivative.

The Maslentia Overture (2013) evoke the celebrations of the week preceding Lent. Here Ichmouratov uses elements of Gregorian chant to set the stage. The Youth Overture, fittingly, is a high-energy work that seems to brim with optimism. This is its recording world premiere — performed by the orchestra and conductor Ichmouratov composed the overture for.

L’Orchestre de la Francophonie has a good recorded sound. The ensemble blend is quite pleasing, and the soloists performed with exceptional musicality. An album of exceptional music, and one I’ll be sharing with my anti-modernist friends.

 Airat Ichmouratov: Symphony, Op. 55, “On the Ruins of an Ancient Fort”
“Youth” Overture; “Maslentisa” Overture
Orchestre de la Francophonie; Jean-Philippe Tremblay, conductor
Chandos 20172

More Recent Posts

  • Host Profile: Jordan Taylor

    Name: Jordan Taylor Radio Name: Sister Pirate Jenny (2017- current), Helvidius (2006-2016) Show: Radio Freedonia, Saturday, 2 – 4 p.m. Day Job: Teacher, St. Anne’s Belfield School – American Studies, Literature and Film Volunteer: The Bridge Progressive Arts (Board Member and sometime programmer since mid2000s) How long have you been a host at WTJU? I think […]

  • #ClassicsaDay #Stokowski Week 2

    Tags: , , , , ,

    For April, 2021, the Classics a Day Team celebrates a legend — Leopold Stokowski. He was born in April (1882), and became a cultural icon. His recording legacy spans over 60 years. And whether he was conducting a premier orchestra or a group of studio musicians, the sound was unmistakable. To share all of Stokowski’s […]

  • Jazz Messenger delves into UVA’s Distinguished Major Projects, April 16

    Tags: , , , , , , ,

    UVA Jazz Ensemble members Tina Hashemi, vocalist, and Thomas Kehoe, pianist, will stop by WTJU Friday morning, April 16, at 11 to chat about the UVA Jazz Performance Program and April 24 release of the Distinguished Major Projects recordings.  They will be joined by UVA Professor John D’earth. The Jazz Messenger, hosted by Brian Keena, […]

  • Host Profile: Nick Rubin

    Name: Nick Rubin Radio Name: Poubelle Show: Radio Freedonia, Saturday, 2 – 4 p.m. How long have you been a host at WTJU? Since summer 2004 Why should someone tune into your show in particular? I pretty much just want to share good vibes and a wide variety of good tunes that fit the day’s […]

  • Allen Pettersson – Symphony No. 12 delivers emotionally

    Tags: , , , , , ,

    This is not music for the faint of heart. Allan Pettersson’s 12th Symphony delivers almost a solid hour of unrelenting outrage and compassion for the downtrodden of society. And even if you don’t understand the words the chorus is singing, the singers’ delivery gives you their emotional impact. Petterson set nine of Pablo Neruda’s poems […]

  • Host Profile: Rick Clark

    Name: Rick Clark Show: Radio Wowsville, Sunday, 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. Day Job: Hotel Manager How long have you been a host at WTJU? 5 years Why did you become a WTJU host? I’ve always loved sharing the music I love with others and discovering new music. Hearing the great original programming on  WTJU […]