It's been a while that I wanted to publish a post on Igor Markevitch's works. Although he's better known as a conductor, he's one of my favorite composer. I could have chosen more famous pieces of his works such as Rebus or L'envol d'Icare, I may discuss some of them in the future, but as it happens, right now, I can only listen to the CD starting with Le Nouvel Age of which 1mn extract of each movement can be listened and the whole piece can be purchased here.
A presentation of Le Nouvel Age (the new age), the one that can also be found in the CD, can be read here.
To me, one of the most striking feature in Markevitch's music is its self-restraint, which is contrasting with the futuristic elation found in Mosolov's "Iron Foundry" for instance:
The programatic subtext, provided by Markevitch himself in his autobiography and reproduced in the CD leaflet, reflects this in toning down the pride of a youthful wrath with:
"Présence sous-jacente de la vulgarité." (underlying presence of vulgarity)
This presence seems to instill a lingering sense of shame in all the piece, and this leads to a fundamental questioning(the unresolved dominant seventh) that comes to dominate the third movement: Isn't the New Age the age of shamelessness, and therefore the age of vulgarity?