Chandos CHAN 9891
When reviewing an earlier recording of Miaskovsky's Sinfonietta, David Fanning contrasted the music's 'dignity and solid craftsmanship' with 'slack moments where ideas seem to be coming back for no better reason than to fill out a pre- allocated space'. As he commented on another occasion, this is music which at times gives 'the curious stylistic impression of Hindemith grafted on to Glazunov'. I found it too lacking in distinctive character - compared to those models - to be very appealing, once the closeness of the first movement's main idea to that which opens Peter Warlock's Capriol Suite (written a couple of years earlier, in 1926) had been noted. The polished blandness of this performance may be partly to blame. Schnittke's early sonata is a more robust proposition, and although other accounts (for example, Daniel Hope's on Nimbus) project greater spontaneity, this one is vigorous and characterful, especially in the Latin American finale. I was less taken with Edison Denisov's Paganini Caprices (1985), since the accompaniment he provides to the solo violin originals can't make up its mind whether to be supportive or oppositional, and is often excessively dense and unvaried. The effect overall, especially in the inevitable No 24 (cf Liszt, Lloyd Webber et al), is to dilute the sense of exposed virtuosity which the originals usually convey. This seems to me a rare miscalculation by an underrated, unduly neglected Russian composer. This performance is as clean and springy as the often congested textures permit. Bright, rather resonant recordings.
(From: Gramophone, July, 2001)