The Chronicle

Tristia II is a “fantasy for piano and orchestra in 11 continuous episodes,” composed in 1998 and revised in 2011. The first thing that listeners will notice is that there is a long passage near the very beginning of the work, and again near the end, where someone is speaking in Russian. (The recording perspective suggests that the speaker was recorded at a different time and place, and mixed in later.) These passages, we are told, are a prayer and a section of prose by Gogol, and it is unfor¬tunate that Divine Art has included neither the texts nor the translations. Matthew-Walker indicates that the texts are the writer’s supplications to a guardian angel, or to God, to smile on his work to come. For what it’s worth, actor Mikhail Philippov reads the texts eloquently—or so it seems to me.

—Jeremy Condliffe