Sergei Zhukov Concertos Suited to Soloists

Ukranian composer Sergei Zhukov wrote a series of three concertos, each dedicated to a different sister of The Bekova Trio. This release features the Piano Concerto written for Eleonora Bekova and the Violin Concerto, written for Elvira Bekova.

Omitted is the Cello Concerto, composed for Alfia Bekova. Zhukov’s stated intent was to create concertos that reflected the personalities of the performers.

According to Zhukov, “Eleonora [Bekova] is able to be in deep meditation at the same time as she is performing at the piano. She can simultaneously express sound and silence.” The Piano Concerto “Silentium” effectively models that concept. The work begins with fragmented bits of melody that gradually coalesce.

But even when everything comes together, the work still lurches between wild bursts of energy and stark silence. Eleonora Bekova performs in this recording. I think her playing makes this piece work. Zhukov’s musical style is quite eclectic, and Belova’s playing provides the unifying element.

The same is true of the Violin Concerto, “Angel’s Day.” Zhukov notes Elviria Bekova’s ability to play just about anything put in front her with complete accuracy. His concerto for her almost seems like a challenge. Can you play this? How about this? The answer in every case is “yes.”

Elviria Bekova is the soloist for this recording. From her extraordinary control in the upper register to the staggering runs up and down the instrument, this is her piece. “Angel’s Day” leans more towards lyricism than “Silentium.” But then, these are concertos written for two different individuals.

The overall sound of the recording is good, but not great. Details seemed a little muffled. And, for my taste, sometimes the soloists seemed a little too deep in the mix. But the music itself more than compensates.

Two idiosyncratic works played by the personalities they were written for. I’m glad Lyrita brought these back in print. I only wish the Cello Concerto had been included.

Sergei Zhukov: Piano Concerto, Violin Concerto
Eleonora Bekova, piano; Elvira Bekova, violin
Moscow State Symphony Orchestra; Konstantin Krimets
Cameo Classics CC9105

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