“Far Away” = MILOS RAICKOVICH: Flying Trio; Piano Sonata; B-A-G-D-A-D; “El contorno” Variations; 3 Romances; Winter Waltz – Soloists/RTS Sym. Orch./Milen Nachev & Bojan Sudjic, cond. – Albany

by | Oct 29, 2010 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

“Far Away” = MILOS RAICKOVICH: Flying Trio; Piano Sonata; B-A-G-D-A-D; “El contorno” Variations; 3 Romances; Winter Waltz – EVI Trio/ Tatjana Rankovich, piano/ Milos Raickovich, piano/ Valeriya Sholokhova, cello/ Barry Crawford, flute/ Jasna Popvic, piano/ RTS Symphony Orchestra Belgrade/ Milen Nachev, conductor/ RTS Symphony Orchestra/ Bojan Sudjic, conductor – Albany TROY1191, 78:54 [Distr. by Albany] *:

I am not sure who would be interested in this music. Though sporting the appellation “minimalism” by some commentators, it is in no way related to the emotional depth of Part, the energy of Glass, or the originality of Adams. Instead, if I didn’t know better—and I am not sure I do—I would think that this album was a put-on. The music itself is extremely minimalist, but beyond its musical category to the point of almost juvenile; each composition betrays an elementary nature that I can say is almost surpassed by any number of children’s piano pieces that I have heard. A glance at the web site where these scores are available (www.amc.net) proves the point that the music is written as simple as it sounds. I don’t begrudge any composers their right to compose music as they see fit; at the same time I think we as listeners have a right to demand that the Emperor at least be modestly clothed, whereas in this case he is butt-naked. I honestly don’t hear anything on this recording that could not be duplicated by a college-level composition student in the form of exercises—it is that simple.

On top of it the performances are somewhat quirky; while the piano pieces are played well, the EVI Trio has some real intonation problems, and none of them are graced with very good tone. Perhaps the close and claustrophobic sound adds to this, but the hearing alone is not the best experience I can imagine.

Serbian composer Milos Raickovich (b. 1956), who has studied with, among others, Messiaen and Del Tredici, according to the notes has garnered a fair amount of acclaim, so I am willing to admit that maybe I am just missing the point of all of this. And I know that this is just a fraction of his output, so perhaps there is some more in-depth craft in his other music. I certainly have to be open to the idea that he is capable of more than this. But if I went out and bought this disc I would feel ripped-off and angry, and I have a duty to point that out to you. Listen to some excerpts if you can, and check out the scores, as the proof is in the pudding. Your call.

— Steven Ritter