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Galina Ustvolskaya, 1919-2006

The Russian composer Galina Ustvoskaya died yesterday. Alex Ross has the details and the (appropriately) terse, German notice from her publisher, Sikorski.

I don’t have time now to write much about Ustvolskaya’s music, but my encounter with it was one of the determining events of my own musical evolution, and I still can’t quite believe that I performed all six of her piano sonatas spaced out during an all-night new music marathon concert as an undergraduate. (By the time I got to the last of them, round about 4 AM, I was pretty spaced out myself.)

If you don’t have this disc, correct that about yourself. This is the music Shostakovich could have written but didn’t.

Update: WordPress is eating my links for breakfast. Go over to http://www.therestisnoise.com for more details, and the CD you are to buy is Frank Denyer’s recording of the complete piano sonatas on Conifer.(I haven’t heard Oleg Malov’s on Megadisc, a label that has also released several other discs of Ustvolskaya’s hieratic chamber music.)

Comments

Comment from Samuel Vriezen
Time: December 24, 2006, 7:17 am

A sad loss! Her work was a minor hype in the early nineties in Holland, when Reinbert de Leeuw was starting to champion her work and that of Gubaidulina. Gubaidulina has remained on the programs, Ustvolskaya – unjustly so – not. But a good CD was made by de Leeuw which I would recommend, in addition to seconding the Denyer disc, and I can also recommend the Barton Workshop disc.