Both of Artyomov’s records are retrospective collections of orchestral music, from as early as 1990 and revised as recently as 2011. The Russian composer writes in a range of styles, from the straightforward and neo¬classical to atmospheric and aggressively modern. Sometimes themes come and go in regular phrases, organized with cadence, har¬monic progression, and regular beat; other times his pieces are formed around swarms of strings in cluster chords, passing in and out of audibility through wide dynamic variation.
With this flexibility of approach his music never sounds quite stable or steady. Even short works threaten to rupture and swerve from the expected. What may start off sound¬ing like Ligetian density and volume can quickly revert to the bizarre playfulness of a Mahler scherzo. This stylistic cosmopoli¬tanism is a strength that keeps the music afloat, even through a couple of hours. It also presents something of a challenge, in that there is little that is predictable or that can be taken for granted in any of the works recorded here. This constant demand for attention can be tiring, but is usually rewarding. I must admit that I’d never heard of Artyomov before getting these records, but I certainly find myself wanting to hear more!