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More New Releases from Toccata!

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Author Topic: More New Releases from Toccata!  (Read 198 times)
« on: September 11, 2012, 03:04:25 am »

Here's three more upcoming releases from the enterprising Toccata Classics Smiley:

-Eyvind Alnaes: Songs to Texts by Heine, Burns, and Scandinvian Poets (Ann Beth Solvang, mezzo-soprano; Erling R. Eriksen, piano):

With recordings of his symphonies and piano music now available, the Norwegian composer Eyvind Alnæs (1872–1932) is slowly emerging from obscurity to take his place as an important successor to Grieg, likewise marrying an essentially lyrical style with the melodies and rhythms of Norwegian folk-music and, in his later output, an awareness of Debussy and French impressionism. In this recital of Alnæs’ atmospheric songs – most of them not previously recorded – Erling R. Eriksen, whose playing of Alnæs’ piano works can be heard on an earlier Toccata Classics CD, returns to his music in the company of Ann-Beth Solvang, one of Norway’s best mezzo sopranos.

Although songs are not my speciality, I'll be putting this disc on my wants list due to my great enjoyment of Alnaes' two symphonies and piano concerto. A shame he wasn't more prolific!

-Algernon Ashton: Music for Cello and Piano, Volume 1 (Evva Miserska, cello; Emma Abbate, piano): Cello Sonata no. 1 in F major, op. 6; Cello Sonata no. 2 in G major, op. 75; Phantasiestucke, op. 12; Arioso, op. 43

Algernon Ashton, born in Durham in 1859, is one of the best-kept secrets in British music, with a generous output of piano music, chamber works and songs. Rutland Boughton wrote that he ‘seems to pour out great musical thought as easily as the lark trills its delight in cloudland’: although Ashton’s writing for both cello and piano is virtuosic, what strikes the ear is the quality of his melodic inspiration – the lyrical immediacy of his tunes suggests Schubert, set in a style of Brahmsian richness.

Although the loss of his orchestral music is quite devastating, it quite heartening that record companies are starting to explore Ashton's surviving scores. It is a rather odd coincidence that Centuar Records is, almost simultaneously, releasing a CD (see thread I started "Victorian Cello Sonatas") containing Ashton's Cello Sonata no. 2, but there's nothing wrong with that Smiley!

-Jean Francaix: Music for String Orchestra (Sir Georg Solti Chamber Orchestra/Kerry Stratton): Ode sur la naissance de Venus; Symphonie d'Archets; Die Kamelien

Jean Françaix (1912–97) has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the happier composers, his Gallic charm and breezy good humour obscuring the superb craftsmanship of his writing. Françaix once observed that ‘I live in exile in my own country and am nourished from abroad’ – Plus ça change, he then might have thought, with this CD presenting an Hungarian ensemble led by a Canadian conductor on a British label, with two first recordings and a rare hearing for one of his more substantial scores.

It's always good to have more of Francaix's cheerful, refreshing music on CD Smiley.
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