Nikolai Myaskovsky: symphony No. 2 in C#m

Performed by the USSR State Symphony Orchestra, Yevgeny Svetlanov conducting.

(This piece has been ‘revisited’ since I felt the article below to be [beyond] inadequate. For the updated article, click here.)

Do not be deceived; although a two-movement work, at about 47 minutes, it has at least the length of a four-movement symphony. I have all 27 symphonies of Myaskovsky by the above ensemble, and will be working my way through it. I must say, at first impression… It does not grab my attention. Pretty music, for sure, but (as with Myaskovsky’s first symphony in Cm, which did have a very nice intro and some notable moments) there wasn’t a ton that grabbed me. It would be prudent to mention here… I am not (currently) making a serious study of any music in particular. Unless otherwise noted, these are all at first pass, and not even very attentive listenings. I am not adept at picking up on key changes or even recognizing certain musical forms, structures or motifs without taking a few listens. That being said, without reading the score or giving these two symphonies some more focused listening, at first pass I cannot say I notice a definitive narrative like I do with the Tchaikovsky symphonies that I love. In all honesty, I probably did give those a few listens before they sunk in. With 25 more to listen to from Myaskovsky, and these two not necessarily being especially noteworthy works (as far as I can gather), I will probably move on to others before giving these more time. There’s still lots of Sibelius, Mozart, Shostakovich, Mahler, Bruckner, and on and on…

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