Author Topic: "New" Music Log  (Read 118900 times)

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Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #480 on: September 26, 2020, 04:43:57 AM »



In this unfortunately blighted Beethoven year, not just Beethoven deserves attention, and Sony Germany's Beethoven's World series offers a decent marketing tie-in opportunity to package up recordings of lesser composers from the era.  There are several discs in the series, but the one with works by Antonio Salieri, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, and Jan Václav Voříšek caught my eye because of one of the soloists, so I figured here's a fun chance to explore some classical era orchestral works by people not named Lou or Francis.

The disc opens with Antonio Salieri's Twenty-Six Variations on La follia di Spagna.  Here I thought Handel owned this theme, but no, Salieri does some pretty darned tootin' things with it.  Starting with a bold statement of the theme, the composer takes the listener through an early 19th Century work that sounds like an orchestral showpiece akin to the later and more sophisticated Concerto for Orchestra by Bartók.  Every instrument in the band gets some love, be it the strings (of course), the timps, the bassoons, or the harp, here spotlit a bit.  Aided no doubt by the modern recording, the orchestral color and texture are quite striking, and in some passages one can hear the influence of Ludwig van himself, which I suspect is something of an homage.  The WDR Sinfonieorchester are far more than up to the task, delivering a crackerjack performance.  A delight.

Next comes the reason I bought the disc, Johann Nepomuk Hummel's Concerto for Piano and Violin, Op 17, with the great Herbert Schuch paired with Mirijam Contzen, who have worked and recorded together before.  The work immediately sounds even chipperer than the Salieri, and closer to Mozart and Haydn than Beethoven.  Light, transparent orchestration sounds quite wonderful.  Schuch enters first, forcefully but tastefully, and he quickly backs off for Contzen, who generates a somewhat thin sound that matches the massed strings, but the effect is not deleterious.  The brisk, springy tempo fits, too.  Make no mistake, though, this is the Schuch show.  Every time he takes center stage, his playing is on another level, one that makes one, well, kinda pissed that he hasn't made more concerto recordings.  On evidence of this disc, he needs to record Mozart and more Beethoven pronto.  And then the rest of the core rep.  Back to the concerto at hand, rather than fast-slow-fast, it goes fast-variations-fast.  The variations sound rather inspired by Mozart, and then by Die Zauberflöte.  If anything, here Schuch stands out even more than before.  The concluding Rondo is charming late-Classical era music with all that implies.  While not one of the great concertante works, it is nonetheless quite fine and well done here.

The disc ends with Jan Václav Voříšek, a composer who pops up here and there in my collection, and the Symphony D Major, Op 24 makes its second appearance in my collection.  The great Thomas Hengelbrock leads the other recording.  Goebel does good work, making the work sound weighty yet classical, but Hengelbrock is in a different class.  Much swifter, with a much more buoyant feel, the piece bristles with energy and life and sounds like a missing masterpiece.  Still, Goebel's inclusion of the work is nice to see and makes for a fine closer to the disc.

Sounds is excellent, if a bit artificial and compressed.
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Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #481 on: October 04, 2020, 05:41:57 AM »



Gloria Cheng is new to me, though she really ought not to be.  A specialist in contemporary works and works by composers she has personally worked with, she covers all manner of tasty modernist, post-war, and current century works.  Yet this disc represents the first recording of hers to make its way into my collection.  Very clearly my bad.  Ms Cheng, as the album covers indicates, worked directly with Steven Stucky, who also wrote the liner notes, and the great Esa-Pekka Salonen, though for me the greatness derives from his conducting more than his still quite formidable composing.  Some Lutosławski gets dropped in the mix for good measure.  Time to listen.

The disc opens with Four Album Leaves by Stucky, from 2002.  The miniatures explore limited ideas, like lengthy ostinatos in Meccanico or Messiaen-like hypnotic sound in Serno, luminoso, and all sound quite nice.  The niceness is reinforced by Cheng's tone, which lacks edge and brittleness as recorded.  Next is the world premiere recording of Lutosławski's Piano Sonata, though it is the third to end up up in my collection.  (Fun fact: women have recorded five of the six available commercial recordings.)  Cheng sort of splits the difference between Ewa Kupiec's more romantic take (think Szymanoski) and Corinna Simon's leaner, more angular take (think Ligeti).  Cheng's tone evokes the former, and her clean playing evokes the latter, while she also plays with an affecting gentleness in some passages.  Kupiec sets the standard for me, but it's nice to have yet another version. (Maybe I end up with all of them.)

Next comes a trio of works by Salonen.  Yta II is a starkly modernist piece, forcing Cheng to skitter along the keyboard for effect, and while not deep or heavy, the surface textures and discernible musical line make it well worth listening to.  The Three Preludes are a bit more substantive.  The first starts off conventionally beautiful, only to move into harmonic development that renders the piece knottier yet still pleasing by the end.  The surprisingly Janáčekian second Prelude, or Janáček meets the avant-garde, belies the Chorale designation.  The last is a perpetuum mobile piece of note.  But it's Dichotomie that is the non-Lutosławski star of the show.  In the extended perpetuum mobile piece titled Mécanisme, Cheng deploys glissandi most effectively to create washes of sound from which clusters of sound emerge, creating a piece that's more about surface sheen and immediate, dissipating effect than depth.  It produces nothing concrete, per the composer.  Organisme blends trills and ostinatos into a better than Glass type Glass, with new ideas occasionally and almost randomly emerging from the busy surface.  Cheng seems ideally suited to produce the optimum sound the piece demands, though I would not be averse to hearing what Herbert Schuch may do with it.

The disc closes with Three Little Variations for David, as in Zinman, and originally played by Yefim Bronfman.  Small trifles, though they can pack an outsize punch in terms of dynamics, they make a fine end to a very fine disc of mostly contemporary music. 

While it seems unlikely Ms Cheng will record much core rep, I would not mind if she did, and in particular I'd like to hear what she could do with Debussy.  Sticking more with her musical milieu, I would surely love to hear her take on the Vingt Regards, any and all Ligeti, Gubaidulina, and hope against hope, Mompou.  Her Messiaen and Saariaho disc looks destined to enter my collection.
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Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #482 on: October 10, 2020, 05:34:30 AM »



I very rarely listen to non-Bach solo cello compositions, and I rarely venture into chamber works for cello beyond core rep.  So when I spied this closeout disc entitled Violincello Italiano, consisting of four works by Italian composers, two of whom I'd never even read the names of before, I figured why not?  It's on Genuin, after all, and Genuin has a high hit rate.  The star of the show is Paolo Bonomini, winner of the Bach prize, and student of Antonio Meneses, Mario Brunello, and Enrico Dindo, among others.  That seemed to guarantee at least good playing.

The disc opens with four caprices by Joseph Marie Clèment dall'Abaco, selected from a larger set of Capricci for solo cello.  The composer was born in 1710, so these works come after Bach, but they sound more baroque in style than classical.  And they sound quite fine.  As a first recorded appearance of the cellist, one can hear absolute control of the instrument, outstanding intonation, and an ability to generate a big, fat tone, or a lean upper register as needed.  The music sounds pleasant enough, though it will never become core rep.  Next up comes the vastly different Ciaccona, Intermezzo, e Adagio from Luigi Dallapiccola.  The unabashedly modernist, immediate post-war work revels in dissonance and tunelessness, stark dynamic shifts, harsh accenting, and only occasional bouts of beauty.  Anger and sorrow rush toward the listener.  Here's a piece I really should have investigated before.  It sort of sounds like a solo cello equivalent to Memorial to Lidice or Nanking! Nanking!.  A familiar name follows, in the form of Luigi Boccherini.  I've got several Boccherini cello compositions in my collection, but not this work, the C Major Sonata for Violincello and Basso Continuo.  Here, Polish cellist Magdalena Bojanowicz joins Bonomini, and on evidence of this, she also has chops.  The standard fast-slow-fast sonata is tuneful, light on its feet - even in the Largo - and delightful, especially in the stupid virtuosic coda.  It has the Boccherini feel, which I mean positively.  The disc closes with four short works by Carlo Alfredo Piatti, including one world premiere recording of the Canzonetta.  Japanese pianist Naoko Sonoda (I don't know if she's related to Takahiro) joins Bonomini, and the duo deliver archetypal romantic miniatures, with the front and center Bonomini reveling in vibrato and cantabile playing of a very high order, indeed. 

All in all, this recording reveals a highly talented cellist who really ought to record more.  Heck, his musical partners should, too.

High end Genuin production values, though people strongly averse to hearing cellists breathe may dislike the recording.
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Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #483 on: October 17, 2020, 05:39:26 AM »



When I recently listened to Gloria Cheng's disc of modern piano music, I read Steven Stucky note that Magnus Lindberg referred to the piano as a compositional lie detector.  I endeavored to try some of Lindberg's piano music, and as luck would have it, this disc popped up for under five bucks.  The Lindberg quote is included in the liner notes, so he meant it.  Fearless pianist-composer George King sets out to play Lindberg's Jubilees, and works by two other composers, and then a selection of his own Etudes, which reflect his background in classical and jazz piano.

The disc starts with the Lindberg.  That Lindberg plays piano seems obvious here, as he wrote Etudes with musical qualities that seem to descend from Debussy, with hints of Stravinsky, Szymanowski, and maybe Ligeti thrown in, all while sounding geared toward someone who actually plays piano.  While harsh and dissonant more than a little of the time, they are mostly, clear, clean, and linear, though the fourth opens in hauntingly beautiful fashion.  Next comes Philip Cashian's Six pieces by paintings by Ben Hartley, a world premiere recording.  Think of it as a severely miniaturized and modernized take on Mussorgsky's conceit, with Messiaen looming so very large.  The writing is not derivative, but the use of harmony, the occasional sparseness, and the bright colors all remind one of the French composer, with the fixations stripped away.  The Webernian brevity results in a neat trick: the listener just settles in to each piece, and then each piece ends.  Always leave 'em wanting more applies here, too.  It's the best thing on the disc.  George Benjamin's Shadowlines, or six canonic preludes for piano, follow.  The most uncompromisingly "avant-garde" composition on the disc, the canonic form often gets purposely buried under stark, terraced dynamics, harmonic clusters, and blurs of atonality.  It's something of a hard listen, though when, in a few instances, the canons emerge clearly from the din, the effect actually sounds exciting, which sort of makes no sense, but there you go.  Finally, King's Etudes sound like a mashup of Debussy, minimalism, Jarrett, and generic post-war avant-garde music.  The composer's intent is to make the pieces more accessible, even playable, and the mashup nature doesn't mean they don't sound good, because they do.  They do fall just a smidge outside traditional classical music expectations, which is just fine.

My biggest takeaway is that I need to explore more Philip Cashian.
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Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #484 on: October 24, 2020, 04:04:42 AM »



Krzysztof Meyer is a name new to me.  I stumbled upon this closeout disc, and figured I might as well try something new, both to me, and in the case of the Imaginary Variations from 2010, to the repertoire.  OK, it's not new-new, but it's definitely contemporary.  The members of the Poznań Piano Trio perform the assorted works in what appears to be their only commercial recording to date.

The disc starts with the Canzona for Cello and Piano, and it starts with a deep, bold cello part that sounds tuneful but dark, sort of in the DSCH vein, but not as unyielding.  The piano part sounds sparser to start, and then as the music moves into a faster middle section, both instrumentalists are given more to do.  Energetic and, if not light, it is not dour, and the music moves along with astringent energy.  It makes for a solid disc opener, but the Imaginary Variations for Violin and Piano make for more than that.  Here, the name that immediately comes to mind is Bartók, with the dissonant, vibrant writing, and the complex structure, but with a neo-classical twist.  Not a traditional theme and variations, the variations, such as they are, emerge from repeated patterns.  This piece far exceeded any reasonable expectations I may have had.

Next is a brief Moment musical for solo cello, marking the second time in a few short weeks that I've added new solo cello music to my collection.  Written as an encore for Roman Jabłoński, it's a super-virtuosic piece, launching with bold, slashing playing, and filled with portamento and pizzicati and nearly everything that can be packed into a short piece.  It's not a great piece like a cello suite, but it's an exceptionally good encore.  Next comes the brief Misterioso for Violin and Piano, and here the emphasis is not on overt, gallery pleasing virtuosity, but rather, for the violinist, on the ability to play delicately and with a lovely sound without a tuneful base.  Fortunately for the listener, the violinist pulls it off.

The disc closes with a big old Piano Trio from 1980, in five movements, and spanning over half an hour.  Starting with a Stravinskian Impetuoso, then moving on to a sometimes bleak Adagio inquieto, then bridging with two intense movements before arriving at the thirteen-plus minute Con moto closer, the work covers a lot of stylistic and inventive ground.  While using more famous composers as a description has uses, here it falls short, because Meyer's invention is not derivative, nor is it beholden to any one style.  Here's some music penned in the last half century that really stands on its own and demonstrates mastery.  It also demands I try something else from the composer.

Sound and playing all meet modern standards. 
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Offline André

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #485 on: October 24, 2020, 10:40:09 AM »
Nice disc/program indeed. His string quartets are masterful.

Offline The new erato

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #486 on: October 24, 2020, 10:46:46 PM »
Nice disc/program indeed. His string quartets are masterful.
Agreed.

Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #487 on: October 31, 2020, 06:01:36 AM »



Recently, on the solo piano disc Jubilees, played by George King, the brief work by English composer Philip Cashian emerged as the most intriguing thing on the disc, so I figured I should seek out more music by the guy.  Coincidentally, or perhaps due to advanced Amazon algorithms, a disc of Cashian's chamber and orchestral music popped up at clearance price (five buck and change), so I just had to have it.  The disc includes five works spanning the period from the early aughts to 2012.

The disc opens with Tableaux, played by the Northern Sinfonia and conducted by Thomas Zehetmair, the very forces that commissioned the work.  A chamber orchestra work, the sound-world sounds like a sort of post-Schoenberg Schoenberg.  The work sounds rather sectionalized, and almost concerto for small orchestra like, with each section getting its due, with sparse textures and ample dissonance, not to mention a nifty if standard sort of fast-slow-fast structure, the piece unfolds continuously and colorfully.  It sounds both strikingly modern yet incredibly easy to listen to. 

Next up is the concerto for Cello and Strings.  Pizzicato strings contrast with the bowed cello to start, and then from there, over the course of the just shy of twenty minutes, Cashian mixes and matches snatches of astringent bowed string playing to go along with the frequent pizzicato continuo, and the undulating, at times searing, and times harshly singing (or maybe croaking) solo cello playing.  As the piece fades away, one concludes this ain't too bad.  Here's a work Nicolas Altstaedt should take up.

The title work, The House of Night, follows.  Basically, a concerto for oboe and strings, the five short movements find Cashian doing his thing.  The oboe starts off sounding very flute-y, and the strings offer a soft cushion, but as the first movement progresses and turn into the second, the oboe sounds sharper and the strings more astringent.  Moods and soundworlds shift fast to slow and back, right to the end.  As with his solo piano music, the brevity makes the music understay its welcome - perhaps something of a feat for an oboe concerto

Dark Flight, a cello sextet follow, and from the dark opening semi-quavers through the entire duration, the six players all do good work, and vary sounds and textures as much as six cellists can, but, while nice enough, it's probably too much cello to listen to frequently.

A nice, big Piano Concerto closes things out.  The piano starts things off simply and sparsely and solo for a good while, as the opening chord transfigures.  Only with first a harp doubling the piano, then a vibraphone and trombone entering the mix, does the orchestra finally enter.  The piano part is purely tuneless, as is the orchestral part.  Slow, single notes from the piano start the slow second movement, which also remains resolutely tuneless while still generating appealing music, more so than some other contemporary/avant-garde compositions.  No reason for harshness or hardness or ugliness here.  The extended sort of cadenza meanders, the sparse music lost in itself.  The concluding movement conforms with the standard fast-slow-fast model, and it sort of seems like a fusion of de-brutalized Bartok 1 and generic post-Darmstadt modernism.  That's not meant as criticism, and the way the entire movement moves continuously through to the end, basically following the simple-ish line of the piano really works better than it ought to. 

This disc reinforces my positive first experience with Mr Cashian's work.  I may have to sample some more of his work.  All artists involved do good work, and recorded sound is fully up to snuff.
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Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #488 on: November 07, 2020, 06:50:35 AM »



Figured it makes sense to go for more Meyer without delay.  This Naxos disc includes the world premiere of the composer's 2009 Piano Quartet, and a recording of his big Piano Quintet from 1991.  The Piano Quartet is a long, twenty-four minute single movement that seamlessly moves between different sections.  At times harshly dissonant, with clangorous piano playing, sharp sforzandi, and striking dynamic explosions, the music at other times moves slowly and with no little beauty.  There are moments of gentleness, nearly violent outbursts, haunting unison string playing, jittery pizzicato playing married to skittish piano playing, all moving back and forth fluidly, sometimes for longer periods, sometimes for shorter ones.  It's like a expressionism meets atonality meets aleatoric music cacophony that still manages to entirely cohere.  Here's 21st Century chamber music to sinks one's teeth into.

The forty-minute Piano Quintet starts with bracing, bright piano playing and has an eerie, kinda Schnittke-meets-Coates sound, with the string drooping and searing, before branching off into an abstract, more amorphous avant-garde soundworld.  But the interlocking motifs and ideas make it jell.  The long Misterioso slow movement, which clocks in at over thirteen minutes, sounds like its description, with the strings often playing extended notes, which creates an intensity that never really breaks during the movement.  The short Inquieto likewise lives up to its descriptive name and comes off like a harsh musical assault of a Scherzo.  The harsh, brittle final movement closes out with uncompromising music, ranging from slow and somber to downright aggressive playing.  Here is a large scale chamber work tracing back to similar works of past centuries, the contemporary equivalent of Shostakovich or Brahms.  Magnificent.

For quite a few years, I've sort of summed up Polish composers as Chopin, Szymanowski, and Lutosławski.  I think I have to add Meyer to that list, at least for chamber music.  I have to check the string quartets.  Probably some orchestral music, too.

Exemplary playing and sound.
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Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #489 on: November 14, 2020, 06:36:03 AM »



First Finzi!  It took me until late 2020 to finally snag a disc of Gerald Finzi's music, and then because it was on clearance.  Starting things off, the hefty forty-fiveish minute (as recorded here) setting of most of Wordsworth's Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood presents a big intro, with textual quality guaranteed.  The music starts off sounding stereotypically British in that it sounds pastoral, with soaring strings, though Finzi mixes things up.  Truth to tell, the music is at its best when the chorus sings above the strings.  The use of percussion sounds a bit crude, or at least not at all to my taste in the third movement (too many cymbal crashes, among other things), for instance, but the blending of voice and orchestra generally works well.  So, too, does Philip Langridge as the soloist.  Few of the vocal works in my collection are in my native language, so when one comes along, and one with a solo part, and with a singer of the caliber of Philip Langridge, I sort of pay closer attention to the text.  He delivers, and the chorus delivers, and the work sounds substantive and generally quite good overall, quibbles about orchestration notwithstanding.

The disc closes out with the Grand Fantasia and Toccata for Piano and Orchestra.  Pianist Philip Fowke is new to me, and he acquits himself well in the work, but the work itself is overwrought in a generic sort of way, with neither of the movements particularly gripping.  A definite meh.

All forces concerned do good work, but the 80s vintage digital recording needs a fresh remastering/re-EQ, because this one sounds hard and glassy during tuttis. 

I know I won't be collecting the Grand Fantasia, and I would write that I doubt I go for another version of the main work, but I see that James Gilchrist serves as tenor in the Naxos recording.  His Schubert song cycles far exceeded expectations, so who knows?
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #490 on: November 21, 2020, 06:43:46 AM »



Until I purchased this closeout disc, I had not listened to Kurt Weill in fifteen or more years.  The last time I listed, it was to Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny in its first recording.  This el cheapo disc seemed like a good excuse to listen to his music again.  Songs, some extracted from stage works, comprise roughly half the disc, while the Second Symphony makes up the back half.  The symphony was the main draw, which ended up being a good thing, because the songs do not really work for me.  Diane Dufresne clearly is not and was not an opera singer and she is recorded much too closely here.  Her singing holds no allure for me, and each song kind of couldn't end quickly enough.  As with the full production of Mahagonny, the Alabama Song suffers in proper setting when compared to the vastly superior version from The Doors.

Now to the main attraction.  Weill's neo-classical symphony has a lot more appeal.  The opening movement sounds simultaneously breezy yet substantial, with a concerto for orchestra style segment for pretty much each section to gets its due, with the winds, in particular, delivering some tuneful music.  Partly a result of the recording technique - ample space - and Yannick Nézet-Séguin's theatrical conducting, one gets a blend of Stravinsky and less cholesterol-rich Korngold.  The Largo, not especially slow sounding here, has an almost movie soundtrack feel and some really superb brass writing.  (Maybe Honeck and Pittsburgh can take it up.)  Though the textures often seem somewhat light, a certain darkness pervades the transfigured march, weaving in and out.  This becomes more evident in the bolder, march-like closing movement, though Weill's bright orchestration, including doubled piccolos, sort of mask that fact.  The rhythmic verve is obvious, but the overall smoothness of delivery sort of doubles down on masking the darker overtones.  Not a complaint.  The work is good enough that I would not be averse to hearing one or two more versions.

Atma delivers good if spacious sound, though one must adjust volume rather significantly between songs and symphony.  All instrumentalists involved do excellent work, and young YNS shows that he had conductorial chops even early in the century.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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Online Jo498

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #491 on: November 24, 2020, 12:03:51 PM »
I don't know this recording but both Weill symphonies are quite remarkable pieces that deserve to be better known (I have only and oldish recording with Bertini). The first symphony is quite different (even further from the musical theatre Weill than the 2nd). And his best orchestral work might be the violin concerto. If he had not been so busy and successful with theatre music, Weill might have been a major composer of instrumental music of his generation.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #492 on: November 26, 2020, 05:50:19 AM »



Until I spied this closeout disc, I don't think I'd even seen the name Giovanni Platti.  A younger contemporary of Bach, he appears to have written a sizable slug of standard baroque fare.  Among his compositional output are these six Flute Sonatas bundled together in opus number three.  All six of the sonatas, and all twenty-three movements, blend together nicely.  It's one big, long, laid-back, beautiful, largely undifferentiated blob o' flute music.  It's pleasant.  And it makes for lovely background music.

None of this takes away from the artists.  Headliner Alexa Raine-Wright plays with a warm, beautiful tone and exemplary breath control, and her three musical partners play their various instruments (harpsichord, baroque cello, archlute, and baroque guitar) with aplomb.  Sound quality is just dandy.  I will never listen to this disc frequently, but I can see myself listening whilst performing some mundane and quiet chores.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Everything dies - Alien Bounty Hunter, The X-Files

Everyone dies - William Barr, United States Attorney General

Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #493 on: November 28, 2020, 06:31:53 AM »



A themed disc about female madness. Clare McCaldin pens her rationale for the program in the liner notes, which may inspire or not, but for me, the whole point of such an endeavor is to see if such a collection compels.

The disc opens with a pair of short, English-language works, one by Henry Purcell and finished by Benjamin Britten, Mad Bess, and one by Hariett Abrams, Crazy Jane, both informed by various famous works, and both make for a somewhat tepid opening to the disc.  McCaldin and accompanist Libby Burgess do nice enough work, but the music falls flat.

Things improve with Brahms' Ophelia.  Brahms' familiar and comfortable idiom works nicely, though the German diction does not sound quite so accurate as German singers produce.  As usual, it does not really bother me, it just must be mentioned.  Things improve yet again with a handful of Hugo Wolf's Mörike-Lieder.  Echt-romantic, properly proportioned and structured, and perfectly expressive, both composer and musical duo deliver the goods.  While some of the upper register piano playing delights, the limitations of the efficient rather than sumptuous sound make one wish for more mixing desk tomfoolery.  Still, as with all Wolf lieder I've heard, it works supremely well.  (I really do need to systematically explore the composer's oeuvre.) 

Turns out, though, that more modern music is where it's at on this disc.  Ned Rorem's Ariel, setting texts from Sylvia Plath, finds the duo, joined by clarinetist Catriona Scott, delivering songs both lyrical and tartly dissonant, and unabashedly modern, with a fluidity and sense of ease that seems to indicate true fondness for the style.  The near matching of clarinet and voice in pitch and sound at times works well.  Predictably excellent, given Rorem's high hit rate.

The disc closes with Vivienne, composed by Stephen McNeff for the singer, with texts by Andy Rashleigh, the work is about Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot.  The roughly half hour work sets a half dozen poems exploring brief segments of the subjects life.  The music sounds more like show tunes than heavy-duty art songs, but here it is the text that carries the weight.  Mostly narrative and direct, and reliant upon sharp allusions and turns of phrase, with bitterness and condescension and sorrow permeating the piece, it unexpectedly packs a wallop.  Here's a work I didn't know I wanted to add to my collection.  Given that the work was written for the singer, and that the singer and pianist premiered the work, it seems a bit lived in, in the best way - like Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's performance of the very different Neruda Songs by her husband. 

So a couple duds to start, but a rock solid program overall.  I can always start listening with track three from now on.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Everything dies - Alien Bounty Hunter, The X-Files

Everyone dies - William Barr, United States Attorney General