8 years ago

Volume 16 Issue 8 - May 2011

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I love Chausson’s

I love Chausson’s imaginative treatment ofthe stark three-note opening motif, whichcould have become clunky and maudlin inlesser hands. The assembled forces capturewonderfully the drama of the opening movement,antique glory of the Sicilienne, profundityof the slow movement, and intensityof the Finale on this outstanding disc.—Roger KnoxStrings AttachedSir WilliamWalton wasstill a teenageundergraduateat Oxford whenstring quartet in1919. Completedin 1922, its fewperformances were unsatisfactory, and despiteseveral cuts and revisions the quartetwas withdrawn by the composer. It wasrevived in its revised version after Walton’sdeath in 1983, but the Doric String Quartetperforms the premiere recording of thefull-length original version on Walton StringQuartets (Chandos CHAN 10661)the composer’s negative assessment – itwas, he said, “full of undigested Bartok andSchoenberg” – it’s a fascinating and extremelychallenging three-movement work, withisn’t out of place besides Beethoven’s GrosseFugesecond quartet is, not surprisingly, from adifferent world, and more in the languagethat we associate with the mature composer.There is contrapuntal skill here too, though,together with Walton’s usual lyricism. Theaddition to the catalogue of 20th centurystring quartet recordings.The wonderfulPhilippe Graffin isback with anotherlittle-known works.Last month it wascertos,this time it’sRare French Worksfor violin and orchestra, with Thierry Fischerconducting the Ulster Orchestra (HeliosCDH55396). The works themselves maylacks stature as a composer. Fauré’s single-here – the second movement is lost, the thirdnever written – as are Lalo’s three-movementFantaisie norvegienne and his Guitarre, andSaint-Saëns’ Morceau de concert. The bestsurprises, though, are Guiraud’s beautifultwo-movement Caprice, and JosephCanteloube’s gorgeous Poème, the latterTERRY ROBBINSgiving the lie to the composer’s apparentis superb throughout, with a rapid vibratoand a crystal-clear lustrous tone, dazzlingin the higher registers, and with an obviousempathy for these seldom-heard but utterlyapparently a re-issue of a 2002 disc; if youthe same mistake this time.JoAnn Falletta andMichael Ludwig,conductor andconcert-masterrespectively of theBuffalo PhilharmonicOrchestra, combinedfor an outstand-ago, and now they’re back with the musicof Czech composer Josef Suk this time with their own orchestra (Naxos8.572323)later became his father-in-law, and continued-Ludwig is outstanding in the Fantasy forViolin and Orchestra in G minor, and alsotakes the solo line in the opening movementof the four-movement suite Pohadka (FairyTale), compiled from incidental music Sukwrote for a theatrical work in 1898. The orchestralFantastic Scherzo in G minor roundsFantasy is also theJapanese violinistKaoru Yamada andpianist Sholto Kynoch(Stone Records5060192780017)that features“Fantasy” works by Messiaen, Schoenbergand Schubert. The three Messiaen titles areearly works springing from his relation-whom he toured in the early 1930s, andwhom he married in 1932. La Mort dunombre, a setting of Messiaen’s own text,-Theme et variations is much more typical ofstyle, with long, high melodic lines againststeady, widely-spread piano chords and awide dynamic range. Fantasie was believedlost, but recently discovered and publishedin 2007. Schoenberg’s Phantasy dates fromsured,but technically challenging writingfor both players. The two Schubert worksseem a bit isolated after the fully committedperformances of the 20th century material.The four-movement Fantasie has a set ofvariations based on Schubert’s own song, Seimir gegrusst!, a somewhat pedestrian per-in the Messiaen.I certainly wasn’texpecting a Bestof James Ehneswhat Analektahas given us withSELECTIONS (AN2 9768), consistingentirely of materialHavanaise and Introduction & RondoCapriccioso, and the Massenet Meditationare the only sizeable complete works; everythingelse is basically snippets of Bach,is that if you like this, you’ll rush out andthem. Well, at least they didn’t call it JamesEhnes’ Greatest music of RodolpheKreutzer performed by violinist Axel Strauss; and Armenian cellistAlexander Chaushianpianist Yevgeny Sudbin in Russian CelloSonatas.MODERN & CONTEMPORARYBrillianceDuo Gaulin – RiverinAnalekta AN 2 9953This aptlythe “brilliance” ofsaxophonist MathieuGaulin and pianistBoth musicianspossess a love of their rinstrumentsandofthethemusic they are playing. Their innate sense64 thewholenote.comMay 1 – June 7, 2011

of each other’s artistic strengths makes forpassionate performances.The repertoire featured could be describedas “Saxophone and Piano Music101,” a survey course of works written forthe combination during the 20th century.The diverse compositional styles range fromValse Vanite to the romantic qualities ofsharp to the more new music sounds ofPiet Swerts’ Klonos. The strongest workis William Albright’s Sonata which openswith a complicated Two-Part Invention thatweaves its way through a number of moodsMadDance, a short robust stomp that ends witha wail and a shout. Works by Jean Matitia,Paul Creston and Ida Gotkovsky are alsofeatured.The liner notes describe the duo’s goalof remaining accessible while presenting“an eclectic and varied repertoire.” Here’shoping they now commission and recordworks written especially for them. That’swhen their musical stars should reallybegin to shine brilliantly. In the meantime,Gualin’s impeccable breath control andlistener engaged.—Tiina KiikMoto PerpetuoDavid ChildsSalvationist PublicationsDOYEN DOY CD262 ( few monthsago I had the pleasureof attendinga concert by theHannaford StreetSilver Band whichfeatured euphoniumWith the memory ofthat breathtaking performance still fresh iningyoung Welsh virtuoso. From Paganinibright light on the broad spectrum of musicalqualities of his instrument. Performing withthe famous Cory Band, under the directionthe qualities of this underrated member ofthe brass family. The opening, dazzling,title track of the Paganini Moto Perpetuoleft my head spinning. I could not operatemy brain with such dexterity let alone myLament by contemporaryWelsh composer Karl Jenkins is oneof the most lyrical solos I have ever heardon that instrument. Originally written assoprano solo in Jenkins’ Stabat Mater, thisinstrumental arrangement is my favourite onthe record. Similarly, the Benedictus fromJenkins’ highly acclaimed The Armed Man:A Mass For Peace highlights the soloist’sconcerto for euphonium by Jenkins which—Jack MacQuarrieThe Hollywood Flute of Louise DiTullioLouise DiTullio; Sinfonia Toronto;Ronald RoyerCambria CD-1194 ( of many Hollywoodincluding JohnWilliams, over thecareer, has playedby a very organic vibrato, is pure and fulland at the same time simple and unaffected.She plays the haunting themes from JohnBarry’s Dances with Wolves with enormousdignity, avoiding the temptation to slip intosentimentality. She is also capable of stunningvirtuosity, as in The Lost Boys Chase,from John Williams’ score for Hook. orchestra – Sinfonia Toronto augmentedby woodwind and brass players from theTSO – conducted by Toronto conductor andof the arrangements and also contributed afour-movement composition, Short Stories,one movement each for piccolo, concert, altomasterful and the writing for all four solo The Piper at the Gates of Dawn,since performed it many times. This piece—Allan PulkerJAZZ & IMPROVISEDThe BeginningMark Segger Sextet18th Note Records 18-2011-1( arrangedso that eachinstrument is appropriatelyvoiced,the compositionsof drummer MarkSegger are given aon this exceptional based, the drummer’s eight tunes aremulti-faceted solidly contemporary effortsliventhe pieces are veterans, trumpeter JimGill on piano and melodica; plus youngersoloists trombonist Heather Segger, tenorsaxophonist, clarinettist Chris Willes and thedrummer himself.With sounds ranging from those reminiscentof baroque rounds to those whichpick up Latin-funk inferences, many announcetheir individuality by concentratingthe rhythm in an ostinato from trombonistSegger. In other places she snorts subterraneouslyor resonates alphorn-like trills, oftenin dual counterpoint with the trumpeter’s-expose dynamic key clips and intense rubatolines on an uncomplicated swinger like SocaYou Play Itmelodic pumps on other tunes such as SteamEngineburping trombone and heraldic trumpet rolland tongue the theme with lyrical abandon.Another highlight is My Dog Has Fleas,where Willes’ saxophone response to thechromatic slurs and narrowed and striatedshrills to melodic, decorated peeps, accompaniedby the drummer’s rim-shot reboundsand challenged by top-of-range tremolotrombone slides.title tune, for the strength of the performancesmakes you hope for future Seggersound elaborations.—Ken WaxmanPurcor – Songs for Saxophone and PianoTrygve Seim; Andreas UtnemECM 2186The work ofoffers a blend oforiginal melodiesaccompanied byadaptations of afew indigenous folksongs. The recordingis very subduedand creates an intimate te atmosphere for thelistener that is both alluring and interesting.defying qualities which make it rather dif- while Trygve Seim’s playing echoes that ofconverge, a beautiful fusion emerges with af-it’s as if Trygve is speaking to the listenerthrough his saxophone.The recording itself accentuates theexpressive saxophone with close proximitymicrophone placement. This enablesthe listener to hear every detail of Trygve’sMay 1 – June 7, 2011 65

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