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PAVLOVA: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3

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Alla Pavlova (b. 1952)

Symphony No. 1 'Farewell Russia' Symphony No. 3

Alla Pavlova is a composer and musicologist. In 1983 shereceived her Master's Degree at the Gnesin Academy of Music in Moscow. Shestudied composition with Armen Shakhbagian. From 1983 to 1986 she lived in theBulgarian capital, Sofia, where she worked for the Union of Bulgarian Composersand the Bulgarian National Opera. She spent the years from 1986 to 1990 inMoscow, working for the Russian Musical Society Board, and since 1990 has livedin New York, where she is a member of New York Women Composers, Inc. AllaPavlova has written a number of compositions for orchestra, including foursymphonies, as well as other instrumental and vocal works that have beenperformed in the United States, Europe, and Canada. She has a special interestin writing music for film, dance, theatre, and children. Her articles, nownumbering over a hundred, have appeared in Russian as well as internationalpublications.

Symphony No. 1 'Farewell Russia', for chamber orchestra, wascomposed in October 1994, and is dedicated to Russia. It was first performed atthe American Music Concert in Moscow on 30th May, 1995, in the Concert Hall ofthe Union of Russian Composers, and recorded the following day. It was writtenafter the composer's trip to Moscow in July 1994, and is, in a way, a responseto her impressions of the new realities of life in her native country, whichshe was visiting to participate in the concert of the New York Women Composers,Inc. The concert was dedicated to American Independence Day, and two of AllaPavlova's compositions, Epitaph and Broadway's Song, were performed. AllaPavlova had left Moscow and moved to America when Russia was still a Sovietstate and a part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. After severalyears away, in 1994 Moscow was unrecognisable and seemed to her a completelynew, unfamiliar place where she had never been before. It was a period when theold, rigid Soviet structures were broken down, while the new ones had not beenformed enough to provide some degree of stability. Among all her old friends inMoscow was a feeling of insecurity and depression, with no idea what the nextday would bring. ' It was so painful for me to see that the country where wewere born and brought up', she writes, 'where we had received our first, childishimpressions of the world, where we were shaped and matured as individuals, thatthis country seemed no longer to exist'.

In an interview in April 1996 for the Morning Edition NPR onher music, Alla Pavlova stressed that the name of the symphony, FarewellRussia, expresses not only her personal feelings but, she believes, conveys themoods and thoughts of many people in Russia at that particular time of drasticchanges in their society. She chose the title through her love for Russia,perhaps an idealised Russia of her own imagining.

The Symphony is written for a chamber orchestra consistingof eleven instruments, string quintet, two flutes, piccolo, harp, piano,vibraphone, and tam-tam. It is in a single extended movement, throughout whichthoughts, moods, and memories develop and interplay. Alla Pavlova has referredto it as 'a symphony with piano solos', because it has three piano solos.

Symphony No. 3 was written in August and September 2000. Thework is tonal and romantic in conception. For many years, Alla Pavlova lived inNew York on Riverside Drive, near the monument of Joan of Arc. The music of thesymphony was inspired by this monument, but has no further programme. It wouldbe wrong to see this music as a musical narration of the story of Joan of Arc,or a psychological portrait. The symphony is a contemplation on the missionwhich every human being on earth has, a destiny, God's will, which leads toevents, accomplishments, and actions that are at times unthinkable, and thelife of Joan of Arc is a very strong example of this concept. This music isalso contemplation on the purpose of one's life, on the power of beauty andsimplicity, on joy, but at the same time the tragedy of being. 'It is my hope',the composer writes, 'that this music will provide support and inspiration tothe listeners at difficult moments of their lives, and will strengthen theirfaith in their destiny and in the profound significance of a human life'. Thereis one other version of the symphony, a more traditional one, with slightlydifferent instrumentation and without the guitar. The work is dedicated to thecomposer's mother.

Keith Anderson

Based on information provided by the composer

Disc: 1
Symphony No. 3
1 Symphony No. 1, "Farewell Russia"
2 Movement 1
3 Movement 2
4 Movement 3
5 Movement 4
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