Alexandrov’s Third Sonata, Op 18, was written in 1920 and twice revised by the composer, in 1956 and 1967. One of its first interpreters was Maria Yudina. In his 1923 review of this sonata Zhilyayev drew attention to the enormously increased importance it had on contemporary Russian music, and placed Alexandrov not alongside but ‘immediately behind such great modern Russian composers as Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Medtner’. The brooding style of the third sonata and the way that the Interlude (tonally strongly reminiscent of Rachmaninov) is integrated into the one-movement structure, along with many other details, all reflect the influence of Medtner – and as with Medtner, the way the material develops is given more prominence than the melodic elements which only come into their own in the Interlude. Myaskovsky – who more keenly than Alexandrov but likewise following Medtner strove for intellectual concentration, thematic tightness and conflicting structures – was therefore perhaps wrong to have described Alexandrov too exclusively as an idyllic lyrical composer:
Anatoly Alexandrov is in actual fact a lyrical composer; his poetry is deeply honest and at the same time exquisitely formed, a veil of dreaminess hangs over it which never, however, degenerates into melancholic or elegiac sentimentality. He is a lyrical pantheist who harbours a great love of the world. He strives for light, sun and, above all, the idyllic – which does not at times exclude mystery and immensity.
from notes by Christoph Flamm © 2002
English: Roland Smithers