Here is an album that successfully fulfills a valuable double mission: to reveal to the general public a very gifted composer and to confirm the talent of artists committed to contemporary creation. If the young French-Ukrainian composer Dimitri Tchesnokov, born in 1982, has already composed a lot, he is still under-represented on the record. This is a mistake that has been corrected here: his orchestration of the Ballade for piano by Boris Liatochinsky (1894-1968) is a marvel. With its sepulchral strings and guttural brass, one is reminded of Rachmaninoff’s Isle of the Dead, before a knell straight out of Boris Godunov’s briefly resounds, tipping the piece into a tormented lyricism that evokes Bernard Herrmann this time.
If Chesnokov’s Violin Concerto claims a certain neo-romanticism and timelessness, it shows perfect craftsmanship and promises many fine achievements to come. Constantly navigating between exaltation and extreme dramatization, the work hides the pitfalls, as in this final Ronde where parodies of folk dances end in a post-apocalyptic climate from which Sarah Nemtanu’s poignant violin escapes. Bastien Stil, experienced in jazz practice, seems to treat the orchestra as a large soloist session. By respecting the personality of each musician, he obtains a Shostakovich’s Symphony n°1 sharpened, with unusual timbre and tempos.