Alla Pavlova: Elegy for Piano and String Orchestra


Ukrainian composer Alla Pavlova has studied at the Ippolitov-Ivanov Music Institute and the Gnesin Academy of Music in Moscow. Pavlova has resided in Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria, and now the USA. She has composed a number of large-scale works for the orchestra including eleven symphonies, one ballet and a number of concertante works. Her music has been performed around the world by some of the leading ensembles, conductors and soloists. 


The Music

Elegy for Piano and String Orchestra was composed in 1998 and stands at around 4.5 minutes in duration. Opening with a sombre piano theme, Pavlova’s inspiration derives from Romantic Russian composers’ past, such as Sergei Rachmaninov and Sergei Prokofiev. A selection of strings join the mix to accompany the piano, however the texture is still quite bare as it sews more voices into the musical tapestry. A short string interlude welcomes more voices from the orchestra in, creating a rich sound. The piano fluctuates between playing a chordal theme and a one hand melodic theme. To build tension, Pavlova uses the chordal theme to build up dynamic and texture, before the music begins to die away once more. 

A reprise of the opening theme is heard again, this time with the strings involved. The dialogue between the piano and strings gets more intense as the dynamic grows and quickly comes away again. The sombre character of the music adds a tinge of sadness into Elegy. The piano takes to the stage alone once more near the end to pronounce the main theme once more before the final delicate solo flourish concludes this poignant piece.


Ⓒ Alex Burns

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