Merritts Hill Music

Merritts Hill Music

Lyadov 2014



2014 was the centenary of the death of Anatoly Lyadov (1855-1914) - also spelled Liadov, Liadow, Ljadow etc. - composer and teacher at the St Petersburg Conservatory, within whose walls he spent his entire working life. He was born into a musical family and there was never any doubt what route his career would take. His pupils admired his sound judgement and attention to detail; among them was Sergei Prokofiev, whom the conservative Lyadov found infuriating, but dutifully encouraged nevertheless.

Although he lacked the ambition to make his name as a composer outside Russia, everything he wrote is extremely well crafted and he produces remarkable orchestral colour without making huge demands on the players, so that his music is also accessible to amateurs and youngsters. By his own admission he had no patience with extended forms and saw no reason to demand of his audience an attention span longer than his own! So despite the urging of friends, he never attempted a symphony or completed an opera; but all his work, consistently small-scale as it is, shows the same competence and mastery - it is the achievement of an imaginative man who was well-taught and proud of it. Perhaps his greatest contribution was persuading the millionaire philanthropist M.P.Belayev to encourage new composers and publish their work.

All the arrangements featured in this section are of orchestral works from the last fifteen years of his life, including the very last piece he wrote, Skorbnaya Pesn (or "Nénie") in which he allows himself a farewell excursion into the elastic tonal world of the younger composer Scriabin, who sadly was not to outlive him for long.

Some of the scores contain parts for contrabass reeds and extra saxhorns, but these are optional and all the pieces are designed to give satisfaction with quite modest resources.

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