5 years ago

Volume 11 Issue 1 - September 2005

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Philharmonic in the

Philharmonic in the expert hands of Neeme Jarvi. The initial Lustspiel­ Ouverture aptly demonstrates Busoni's mastery and lightness of touch in a fleet-footed confection he purportedly conceived in a single evening. Of considerable interest are two works informed by the music of Native Americans which he learned about through his student Natalie Curtis during his perplexing residence in America in 1913-14. The Indian Fantasy for piano and orchestra is performed here by the Argentinean pianist Nelson Goerner, who delivers an immaculate performance of the extensive solo excursions in this highly episodic work. The orchestral Song of the Spirit Dance which follows is a considerably more concentrated and less obviously derivative work. The concluding Suite from his neglected 1912 comic opera Der Brautwahl is Busoni at the top of his form: brilliantly scored, wonderfully inventive and hauntingly melodic. The vivacious performance of these excerpts by the BBC Phil is tremendously effective. I highly recommend the previous (2002) volume in this series as well, which offers a more coherent demonstration of the wide range of Busoni's art. It includes the pugnacious and brassy Gehamischte ("Armourplated ") Suite; the ethereal sonorities of his Berceuse elegiaque; the kaleidoscopic Clarinet Concertina in a fine performance by John Bradbury; and a pair of works derived from his operatic masterpiece Doktor Faust: an emotionally undercharged performance of the Sarabande and Cortege and a considerably more nuanced account of the Tanzwalzer. There remains enough material in Busoni's catalogue for at least a third volume, which I look forward to with eager anticipation. Daniel Foley Bruckner: Symphony No.5 Munchner Philharmoniker; Christian Thielemann Deutsche Grammophon 00289 4775377 Judging by this recording the Munich Philharmonic did well to appoint the brilliant young conductor 60 Back to Ad Index Christian Thielemann as its new Generalmusikdirektor. A new era is coming to Munich. The orchestra has a distinguished history of championing Bruckner, personified by the immortal Chelibidache who was arguably the greatest interpreter of Bruckner ever. Thielemann should prove a worthy successor. Observing Bruckner's symphonic output one sees a dividing line between the 4th and the 5th symphonies. The 44 year old Bruckner abandons previously tried safe forms and moves into new uncharted territory. The 5th is gigantic, monumental, full of new musical ideas and complex structures. Bruckner, by this time, had become a highly successful organist and this work is notable for its churchlike solemnity. One is immediately overtaken by the Olympian entry of the full orchestra with the G flat major triad. After a splendidly moving exposition the dialogue of horn and flutes over a string tremolo creates pure magic. In the Adagio the sad little theme played against pizzicato bass shows a gentler side of the conductor. This is also manifest in the sweet juxtaposition of an Austrian landler after the brutal, savage Scherzo theme. Thus we arrive at the "finale of finales", to paraphrase Furtwangler, with its Beethovenian quotations of earlier movements through two interposed monumental fugues, Parsifal-like brass chorales and an accelerated, exciting, triumphant ending. Thielemann handles all of these elements like a true master. Added to this is an exemplary, demonstration quality recording. Strongly recommended. Janos Gardonyi MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY .- i;-r;; .,:- :,.

111·\!n CO\l· LI 11, ,.1.,. ~ 1 .. 1r.,n ·l'1~1, ,!',., , . • :-,.. z ,1 n,. ,,, ·.1, 11.dll, .. t ,1111 , oh · r .. .. , , ,u:.:, RECORD YOUR DEMO (special1z1ng 1n recording classical & iazz artists) ! tu.,. c, 11~ ,., I,, ,.. I ih I ,~, , It· ltal ,,· , \ , ltu ,r, ,r\ h,l:11,1" ll'i 11 " r, i,•k1·\i,-li11. ( \ .J,o ;:1d l' .11•1 1'1.1u,,1,·1.1t 1 , c .. u1"11 :\ \ \"C \lrnm, l'it" ' \,.,. I . 11,I ~ h,r S1n.1II f)nh,·, 11., .-,;1rin.:(.lu.1 1k l \ o. 1 /( Continuum Portrait series. The co-directors and founders of Continuum, Cheryl Seltzer and Joel Sachs, are both pianists. The crown jewels in the Profile series are, to my ears, the transcriptions for four hands ofNancarrow's Study No . 15 and the Sonatina for Piano. There's an ample supply of keyboard jewels in each of the five CD's. Seltzer studied with Mihaud, Kirchner and Moss at Mills College during the institution's banner years as a hotbed for new music. There's a certain Toronto link via her collaboration with York University's Austin Clarkson as joint movers and shakers in the Stefan Wolpe Society. Sachs conducts Continuum's chamber orchestra and Julliard's new music ensemble. If you want a Julliard black belt in new music performance, you'll be dealing with Sachs. A common thread among the four selected composers is a pronounced musical individualism, and disinterest in founding or being part of any school, mainstream or avant-garde. They did, or in Kirchner's case is doing, their own thing and arrived at inimitable musical languages. Kirchner's analysis/performance pedagogy at Harvard has become legendary, but adherence to the language that brought Kirchner his Pulitzer Prize is not a requisite part of the program - he encourages students to find their own voice. Stringent technical demands on performers is another common thread. The extreme case, of course, would be Nancarrow's composing for player pianos after he gave up on finding human beings who could realize his demands. It was only in the final years of his life that he happily discovered pianists like Ursula Oppens, Seltzer and Sachs EPTEM BER 1 - (TOBER 7 2005 Back to Ad Index '.,, who could do so. But extreme technical demands and dynamics had little to do with the four composers trying to push envelopes or jolt people. What came out could indeed push and jolt, as Cowell's Deep Color still does a half-century after its premier, but they simply had musical ideas in their heads and hearts that had to be expressed, and these ideas do stir the waters. Abiding respect for the great composers of the past, and for folk music as well , is another common thread among the four composers, and for Continuum as well. Nancarrow is the most striking instance: take one part adoration of Bach, another part playing the jazz trumpet, stir in one hell of an imagination, and the resultant trajectory is going to be unique. Like Schoenberg, the four composers probably saw themselves taking next logical steps rather than fomenting revolution against the past. The repertoire in the Continuum Profiles series is very important and much of it has not been readily available. Continuum's performances are admirable. Naxos maintains its usual high technical standards in the remastering. Fold in the label's unbeatable prices, and these discs deserve a place of honour on the shelves of anyone interested in new music. Or music period. Phil Ehrensaft Arvo Part - A Portrait Various Artists Naxos 8.558182-83 It's a risky business producing a survey of a composer' s work with selected excerpts from his oeuvre - especially with an ascetic like Arvo Part. It becomes, of necessity, a "sig- CONTINUES WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE,COM pllllllllllllll lllll; I I ~ 314 Churchill Ave f , Toronto. Ontar i o ~ ~ M2R 1E7 Canada p ~ Tel: 416-224-1956 ~ ; Fa x: 416-224-2964 1 f MIKROKOSMOS ; f ; .. .. ; ; ~ We buy your ~ ' ~ classical LP ' ~ ; ' ~ collection ~ ; ; ; "; (classical, such as '; ,, ; Beethoven, Mozart, , ,,, Stockhausen) '; I ~ ' ; ~ we travel anywhere ~ ~ for good collections ~ ; ' ~IIIIPllll#lllllllllf 7-ockrtilg

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