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New Releases from the Records International September 2012 Catalogue


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Author Topic: New Releases from the Records International September 2012 Catalogue  (Read 228 times)
kyjo
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« on: September 03, 2012, 04:38:18 am »

Having just read through the September 2012 catalogue on RI, I'm just going to point out a few new releases that might be of interest Smiley. In case you are wondering why I left out the most important releases (mainly orchestral), it is because most of them had been mentioned at the other forum. Sorry for this being so long; just wanted to pick out the CDs most members here would be interested in Grin. The paragraphs in red print are the CD reviews from RI.

-Dorothy Howell (1898-1982): Piano Concerto in D minor; Lilian Elkrington (1900-69): Out of the Mist; Cyril Scott (1879-1970): Harpsichord Concerto; Salomon Jadassohn (1831-1902): Serenade no. 3 in A, op. 47 (Cameo Classics)
      This hybrid of Cameo’s German-Jewish series and British Premiere series brings us the very obscure young woman composer Elkrington’s seven-minute tone poem of 1921, a cortège inspired by the return to Britain from France of the Unknown Warrior, melancholy, sad and elevated. You’ll recognize Howell from the May 2009 release on this label of her tone-poem Lamia (05K001); its impressionistic color, crystalline textures and telling use of brass are again evident in this 1923 single-movement concerto of just under 20 minutes (Havergal Brian was impressed by it and Boult and Dan Godfrey programmed it). Scott’s concerto dates from 1937 and since no Scott composition sounds exactly like any other Scott composition, you won’t be surprised at striking harmonic color, Scriabinesque in the slow Pastoral Orentale movement, and some truly virtuosic demands on the harpsichordist. Jadassohn’s last Serenade needs no introduction to those who own the first disc in this series. All but the Elkrington are World Premiere Recordings.

-Douglas Lilburn (1915-2001): String Quartet in E minor; String Trio; Violin Sonata; Six Duos for two violins; Canzonettas nos. 1 and 2 for violin and viola (Atoll)
       Sibelius is often invoked for comparison with Lilburn’s craggy, towering orchestral works; the similarities are less in evidence in these chamber pieces, though a certain seriousness of purpose and brooding intensity, as well as a gift for concise, precise expression and economical, organic use of form have somewhat in common with the Finnish master. Elsewhere, one is also reminded of pastoral English string serenades - Bliss or Vaughan Williams perhaps. The quartet is a substantial three-movement work, with serious, questing outer movements framing a brief allegretto interlude. The sonata is a passionate work, traversing many moods in a highly concentrated quarter-hour. The Duos are simultaneously a set of diverse character pieces and studies - as much for the composer’s benefit in exercising his craft in achieving a wide range of expression with deliberately limited means as for the performers. Folk-dances, pastorals and restrained tragedy are all evoked by these remarkably full-textured miniatures. The Canzonettas were composed as incidental music for Shakespeare, again establishing a mood and atmosphere instantly, with the greatest instrumental economy. The trio shares a similar musical language with the quartet - they were composed a year apart - with a suggestion of Schubertian wistful melancholy (acknowledged by the composer in a rare comment on his own music) in the middle movement. Martin Riseley (violin), The Chamber Players of the New Zealand School of Music.


-Charles Koechlin (1867-1950): Paysages et Marines for piano, flute, clarinet, and string trio, op. 63b; Two Sonatines for oboe d'amore, flute, clarinet, string sextet, and harpsichord, op. 194; Wind Septet for flute, oboe, cor anglais, clarinet, alto saxophone, bassoon, and horn, op. 165; Sonate a 7 for harpsichord, flute, oboe, and string quartet, op. 221 (Timpani)
       These are Koechlin’s complete works for ensembles, led by 1916’s Paysages et Marines, a set of twelve brief pictures of landscapes and seascapes from a calm morning dawn to the anguished worry of fishermen’s families during a nocturnal storm. Brilliantly etched little pieces. The other three works are later (1942, 1937 and 1949 in the order listed above), when the composer was preoccupied with polyphony but are equally finely-drawn sequences of short pieces exploring unusual instrumental combinations as well as the counterpoint. Ensemble Initium & Ensemble Contraste.

-Czeslaw Marek (1891-1985): Four Meditations, op. 14; Capriccio, op. 15; Sinfonietta in D, op. 16; Serenade for violin and orchestra, op. 24; Suite for orchestra, op. 25; Sinfonia, op. 28 (Guild)
        Very attractive late Romantic orchestral music arrives in this latest volume of reissues from original Koch International Classics recordings from the late 90s and early 00s. The single-movement, 32-minute symphony was Marek’s entry for the 1928 Schubert centenary competition and you might find equal influences of Szymanowski, Myaskovsky, Bax and Schmitt. The Sinfonietta is the plushest, Richard Straussian in places while the suite is more Gallic in its light textures while the big, 31-minute, four-movement Sérénade has Delian qualities. 2 CDs. Philharmonia Orchestra; Gary Brain. Original 1996 and 1997 Koch Classics releases.


-Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944): Complete Piano Sonatas (+Menuett (Totentanz)) (Steinway and Sons)
         This is the third complete cycle of the Ullmann sonatas and the first one in 17 years (also the first one to use the 2001 Schott-published edition; the previous two had to use manuscripts) and, even better, it’s mid-price. Remarkably, the fact that the last three sonatas were composed in the concentration camp of Terezin does not show at all: this is very much a cycle with each sonata plainly deriving from the ones before it. The idiom is central European/Viennese, of course, with a few hints of Schoenbergian atonality in the earlier sonatas (No. 1 is from 1936) but also Mahler, jazz, Czech folk music and Bartók (much of the Fourth recalls his Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta) while the Seventh - later orchestrated from Ullmann’s instrumental notations on his manuscript - juxtaposes Yiddish folk music, a Hussite patriotic song and a Lutheran chorale. 2 CDs. Jeanne Golan (piano).


- "The Scottish Viola: A Tribute to Watson Forbes":Allan Richardson (1904-78): Viola Sonata, Sussex Lullaby; Robin Orr (1909-2006): Viola Sonata; William Alwyn (1905-85): Sonatina for viola and piano no. 2; Sebastian Forbes (b. 1941): St. Andrews Solo for solo viola; Arrangements: Pietro Nardini (1722-93): Concerto in G minor; Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764): Tambourin (both arr. by Watson Forbes (1909-97) and Alan Richardson); J.S. Bach: Sinfonia from the cantata "Ich steh mit einem Fuss im Grabe", BVW 156 (arr. by Forbes) (Nimbus)
       Music either written for or arranged by Scottish violist Watson Forbes, all of it tonal and melodic with the two sonatas by Orr (1947) and Richardson (1949) at its center. The powerful and serious Orr was available in a 1978 broadcast recording on a Guild disc offered back in December of 2009 but there is no other recording of the more lyrical Richardson. The Nardini is more of an adaptation than a transcription, complete with 20th century harmonies! Martin Outram (viola), Julian Rolton (piano).


-Paul Constantinescu (1909-63): Sonatina for violin and piano; Tiberiu Olah (1928-2002): Sonatina for piano; Livia Teodorescu-Ciocanea (b. 1959): Endeavour Bells for piano; Alfred Mendelssohn (1910-66): Partita for solo violin; Petr Eben (1927-2007): Sonatina Semplice for violin and piano; Otmar Macha (1922-2006): Elegie for violin and piano; Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959): Five Madrigal Stanzas for violin and piano (Move)
       A clutch of Czech and Romanian composers, all of whom write approachable, tonal music, some with more or less folk material as influence (Constantinescu’s 1933 Sonatina moreso) - except for the most recently-born composer, Romanian Teodorescu-Ciocanea, whose Endeavour Bells (2008) whose engagement with the harmonic series which is at the base of spectralism, is used to create the impression of the sonic qualities of tolling bells. Ivana Tomásková (violin), Tamara Smolyar (piano).


-Cesk Zadeja (1927-97): Violin Sonata; Nikos Skalkottas (1904-49): Petite Suite no.2 for violin and piano; Pantcho Vladigerov (1899-1978): Song from Bulgarian Suite, op. 21; Aleksandra Vrebalov: Easter Chapel Meditations for violin, piano, and pre-recorded sounds; George Ensecu (1881-1955): Violin Sonata no. 3, op. 25 "Dans la caractere populaire roumain" (Centaur)
        Balkan music for violin and piano offered mainly for the two-movement, 11-minute sonata by Zadeja (19782-74) which may be the first Albaninan composition we’ve offered since taking over RI in 1997. Skalkottas’ Petite Suite combines serialism with Greek folk rhythms and Vrebalov’s 9:43 Meditations summons the world of Orthodox chant. Miroslav Hristov (violin), Vladimir Valjarevic (piano).


-Vyatautas Barkauskas (b. 1931): Partita for solo violin, op. 12; Eduardas Balsys (1919-84): Lament and Mischievous Drebulyte for violin and piano; Grazyna Bacewicz (1909-69): Caprice, Humoresque, and Oberek no. 1 for violin and piano; Veniamin Sher (1900-62): Concert Piece for violin and piano, Scherzo for solo violin; Huw Watkins (b. 1976): Partita for solo violin; Esa-Pekka Salonen (b. 1958): Lachen verlernt for solo violin; Joe Schittino (b. 1977): Poem "Egle" for violin and piano; James Macmillan (b. 1959): After the Tryst and A Different World for violin and piano (Champs Hill)
         My main motivation, being half-Lithuanian, for offering this was the 21 minutes of music by Lithuanian and Polish-Lithuanian composers with another ten minutes by the young Sicilian Schettino based on the same Lithuanian folktale which produced Balsys’ famous ballet score Egle:  Queen of Snakes. But violin fanciers of all types should enjoy the predominantly approachable scores here and the may not know the Russian-Jewish Sher, last student of Leopold Auer, whose ten minutes of music is quite Romantic in tone; it’s the Welshman Watkins who provides the most “modern” work with his 15-minute Partita. Diana Galvydyte (violin), Christopher Guild (piano).


-John McCabe (b. 1939): Movements for clarinet, violin, and cello; Sonata for clarinet, cello, and piano; Rauvel's Rondeaux for clarinet, violin, and piano; Clarinet Quintet "La Donna" (Guild)
        Fauvel’s Rondeaux is based on material from the composer’s ballet Edward II, which features a troupe of entertainers for satirical effect, who are also part of the murderous treachery that unfolds in the drama. This trio is a large-scale rondo, with coarsely lively dances and a deliberately vulgar refrain alternating with intensely chromatic material of increasingly sinister character as he drama progresses. The other trio is earlier - 1969 - and sparer in texture and harmony, with five contrasting linked sections in which the clarinet leads the predominantly somber or nervously ironic, rather Shostakovich-like melodic material through a series of dialogues with the other instruments. Plucked piano strings toll like distant bells in the lonely, elegiac slow sections. The quintet is a recent work in four sections played without a break. It progresses from a hesitant opening for the strings, suddenly enlivened by the entry of the clarinet, to an ongoing dialogue between the two factions - sometimes abrasive, sometimes playful - which traverses a lively scherzo and an intensely lyrical slow section before settling on a dancing finale with shared material. Movements is an engaging divertimento constructed as an ingenious palindrome bracketing a lyrical adagio. Linda Merrick (clarinet), Aaron Shorr (piano), Kreutzer Quartet.


-Tokhude Niimi (b. 1947): Violin Concerto no. 2 "Spira Vitalis"; Solar Wind for orchestra; Towards the Silence for string orchestra (Camerata)
         Niimi is very much a modern neo-romantic composer, using his music to express emotional and philosophical ideas and bold, striking imagery. His harmonically rich vocabulary is based in tonality - most notably in the most recent piece, the concerto - his orchestration riotously colorful, his formal structures following a dramatic arc. The concerto follows the composer’s conception of ‘spiral form’ - a kind of open-ended development of themes through variation and metamorphosis. The violin is treated with the utmost virtuosity, especially in the first movement, where it is almost constantly present - and not just present, but frenetically active, often in double-stopped textures as though determined to dominate the argument through sheer bravado. The three movements chart a kind of spiritual journey, from hectic real life with its tumultuous emotions through a tense, surreal form of dreamscape purgatory to a static, spiritually enlightened conclusion. Solar Wind takes its inspiration from the mysterious, highly energetic stream of particles emanating from the sun, that bathes the Earth and is responsible for the auroras, among other phenomena. This piece is an exercise in sonorism, with layers of vibrations and resonance unfolding in shimmering textures. Towards the Silence establishes persistent pedal points which act as anchoring centers surrounded by the brilliant flashes of illumination of dissonant, clustered chords. The piece unfolds slowly, in saturated waves of color, finally subsiding into ever more ethereal textures and finally, silence.


-Magnus Lindberg (b. 1958): Trio for clarinet, cello, and piano; Santa Fe Project (Konzerstuck) for cello and piano; Partia for solo cello; Dos Coyotes for cello and piano (Ondine)
        These are all recent works, and have in common the almost Romantic, often quite tonal, vocabulary that Lindberg has increasingly adopted in recent years (after the ‘angry young man’ modernism of his early works, nonetheless breathtaking in their mature command of unruly forces and forms), as well as an emphasis on his own re-emergent career as a pianist of formidable technique. The trio is a good case in point; a substantial work requiring considerable virtuosity from all three players. The grand first movement is followed by a quiet episode which turns into a skittering scherzo, and the finale is a rhythmically incisive statement that seems unable to decide whether it wants to be a march or a dance, before broadening into a tranquil, glowing conclusion. Santa Fe Project is a tough, tautly organized concert piece played without a break, divided into clearly delineated sections, opening with a freely expressive fantasia followed by an exploratory middle section and rhythmic finale. The Partia is a suite in six movements, following the overall forms of a Baroque suite, but in a much more modern vocabulary, with the technical possibilities of the cello fully explored (but without straying into ‘extended’ territory). Dos Coyotes is a reworking of the ensemble piece Coyote Blues, consisting of four striking character pieces with an emphasis on lyricism and sumptuous harmony. Kari Kriikku (clarinet), Anssi Karttunen (cello), Magnus Lindberg (piano).


-Lowell Liebermann (b. 1961): Cello Sonatas 1-4 (+ Album Leaf, op. 66) (Blue Griffin)
         Liebermann has returned repeatedly to the medium of the cello sonata, producing thus far these four satisfyingly different yet stylistically consistent single-movement works in his passionate, emotionally charged, very tonal neo-romantic idiom. The first sonata is a student work, revealing Stravinsky as an early influence, already highly accomplished and full of idiomatic writing for both instruments. The second is based on themes from Liebermann’s opera The Picture of Dorian Gray, and has a clearly defined dramatic arc, strongly suggesting narrative episodes from the opera, agitated and impassioned, finding brief repose in a beautiful, extended central aria. The work begins and ends in iridescent, shimmering impressionistic textures. The third is more conventionally structured, with long-breathed phrases that recall Shostakovich in melodic contour. From an uncertain, searching opening the piece builds an impressively dramatic climax, supplanted by a slow, achingly lyrical final section culminating in a quotation from the Bach-Gounod Ave Maria which the ‘Shostakovich Scherzo’ material tries, and ultimately fails, to disrupt. The fourth begins with a lovely cello melody which is soon displaced by increasingly agitated material. An intense cello cadenza leads to alternating sections of poignant, eloquent melody and vehement passion. Dmitri Atapine (cello), Adela Hyeyeon Park (piano).


-B Tommy Andersson (b. 1964): Warriors; The Garden of Delights (Sterling)
         Two big, bold, thoroughly accessible scores, bursting with irrepressible energy. Andersson’s idiom is eclectic, likely drawing on the many influences encountered in his active career as conductor, with echoes of late romanticism, early and neoclassical Stravinsky, Martinu, Sibelius, Prokofiev and many more besides, plus a lively modern popular touch suggesting stage and screen - and all very tonal. The Garden captures the teeming energy and unselfconscious abandon of the figures in Bosch’s famous painting - especially the central, eponymous panel - with a serene central section that has more in common with the left-hand ‘Eden’ scene, but with not much suggestion of the nightmarishly grotesque right panel. Warriors is a ballet score in six linked scenes, inspired by a legend about the elite army of Thebes in the 4th century B.C. Battle music alternates with sensual love scenes and stately images of noble reflection, like statues or friezes depicting the warriors of antiquity. The whole is underscored by a restless energy, providing an irresistible forward momentum. Orchestra of Norrlands Operan; B Tommy Andersson.


-Francesco Giammusso (b. 1970): Concerto for piano and strings; Genesi di un tema infantile for piano, trumpet, string quartet, digeridoo, and bells; Invenzioni for cello and piano; Improvviso and Sonata for solo piano (Tactus)
           Giammusso has synthesized a convincing, if essentially conservative, neo-romantic idiom from a wide range of earlier models, all firmly tonal. The composer seems to enjoy juxtaposing styles from different centuries with abrupt, sometimes disconcerting transitions. Improvviso makes specific reference to Janacek’s Sonata in a free fantasia in a late-romantic language, while the sonata alternates episodes of neo-Baroque counterpoint with Stravinskyan neoclassicism and a suggestion of impressionistic washes of color and Romantic melodic fragments which increasingly combine as the work progresses to approach a new-agey view of classical piano writing - gentle and ‘relaxing’ but largely free of contrast or tension. The concerto similarly pays homage to a variety of romantic models, while Genesi is a gently meditative piece full of rippling piano gestures and consoling melody, with the didgeridoo and bells adding a kind of World Music flavor. The recent Invenzioni draw heavily on classical and romantic models in a series of Schumannesque character-episodes, expressive and lyrical. Enrico Maria Polimanti (piano), Andrea Noferini (cello), Danila Massimi (didgeridoo, bells) and string orchestra.


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