CDs SEPTEMBER 2021

LULLY – BALLET ROYAL DE LA NAISSANCE DE VENUS
LES TALENS LYRIQUES, CHRISTOPHER ROUSSET, director
CHOEUR DE CHAMBRE DE NAMUR & soloists
APARTEMUSIC AP255 73’

Despite being first performed in 1665 the music in this recording feels fresh and vital. Written at the request of Louis XIV in honour of his sister-in-law, Henrietta of England, the sounds conjure up something of the sumptuousness we have come to associate with the royal court. Voices form an important part of some sections of the ballet and some additional excerpts from four other works of Lully are included at the end of the disc.

SOUNDMAPS – EXTENDED REALITIES
VALERIA ZORINA, violin EVGENY SINAISKI, piano
OEHMS 0C492 48’21

This is a lovely collection of mostly contemporary works for violin and piano. The set of Four Nocturnes with Masks by Louis Franz Aguirre, themselves dedicated to other contemporary composers are particularly effective miniatures. Similarly Giacomo Platini’s Four Souvenirs for violing and piano show that much can be communicated in within a small space. Alongside these and other contemporary works are Biber’s Rosary Sonata IX – The Carrying of the Cross. The mostly reflective nature of all of this music is contrasted with the lovely violin and piano rendition of Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre.

WITH MALICE TOWARD NONE
APOLLO CHAMBER PLAYERS
AZICA ACD-71340

A feast of new music blending diverse sources and traditions in vibrant performances make for a very exciting compilation. Themes of inclusion and diversity are to the fore. A wide variety of timbres feature throughout, with electric violin in the title track, voice and electronics in Pamela Z’s The Unravelling. Theofanidis & Wingate’s What is the Word? begins with spoken word. The closing track, We will sing one song, by Eve Beglarian features a range of traditional percussion and viola. Much to explore and enjoy.

CHEVALIER DE SAINT-GEORGES – SYMPHONIES CONCERTANTES
CZECH CHAMBER PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA & SOLOISTS,
MICHAEL HALASZ, conductor
NAXOS 8.574306 64’56

The music of Joseph Boulogne, often known as the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, is being rediscovered and rightly appreciated much more. An early pioneer of the symphonie concertante style this substantial music can certainly hold its own alongside compositions of his often better remembered contemporaries. Fresh performances of the 4 Symphonies Concertantes making up Op 9 & 10 are joined by Symphony in G major, Op 11.

9/11:20 – MEMORIALS ON THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF SEPTEMBER 11TH
ADAM SWAYNE, piano
COVIELLO COV92111 62’41

A poignant but important release commemorates the 20th anniversary of this appalling event which continues to leave its mark. Adam Swayne is obviously fully immersed in this well thought out programme of American piano music which includes newly written works alongside the still contemporary sounding music of Henry Cowell. Two movements of Karen Walwyn’s Reflections on 9/11 and David Del Tredici’s Missing Towers bookend the CD with Kevin Malone’s Sudden Memorials at the centre. This work references many different musical styles and traditions. Another style is also included in the form of Scott Joplin’s Solace. This is unusual for Joplin in that it is a more reflective piece than most of his output. Here a beautifully understated performance really adds something to this collection. A very impressive commemoration with much of interest.

RONALD BINGE – BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC 2
SLOVAK RADIO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, ERNEST TOMLINSON, conductor
NAXOS 8.555190 72’26

Included here alongside his three best known pieces, Elizabethan Serenade, The Watermill and Sailing By is a wealth of Ronald Binge’s lesser known miniatures. Many of these are rather charming and worthy of a wider audience. A surprise to me was the inclusion of the Alto Saxophone Concerto, showing a different aspect of the composer’s output.

NIKOLAI KAPUSTIN – PIANO CONCERTO NO 4
FRANK DUPREE, piano, conductor
WURTEMBERGISCHES KAMMERORCHESTER HEILBRONN, CASE, conductor
CAPRICCIO C5437 64’

I find the piano music of Kapustin to be an exciting blend of jazz and classical influences. Here we have a disc of three medium scale chamber and orchestral works. Opening the CD is the title work. This is followed by the Concerto for violin, piano and string orchestra. The Op 57 Chamber Symphony concludes the recording. Spirited performances by all including pianist Frank Dupree bring this music to life in a thoroughly entertaining programme.

ERIC TANGUY – CLARINET CONCERTO, VIOLIN CONCERTO NO 2, MATKA
PIERRE GENISSON, clarinet JULIA PUSKER, violin
JYVASKYLA SINFONIA, VILLE MATVEJEFF, conductor
ONDINE ODE 1390-2 68’01

There are also jazz influences here, including moments of vibraphone, in this welcome release showcasing the work of contemporary French composer Eric Tanguy. The oldest of these pieces is the Violin Concerto No 2, in a revised edition produced in 2004. The Clarinet Concerto and Matka have both been written in the last decade. These fine performances bring the music to life and made this listener want to hear more of Tanguy’s music.

PETERIS VASKS – OBOE CONCERTO, VESTIJUMS, LAUDA
ALBRECHT MAYER, oboe
LATVIAN NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, ANDRIS POGA, conductor
ONDINE ODE 1355-2 68’41

This music moves between the expansive and the introspective, with a wonderful fusion of large orchestral textures and solo lines together with the occasional unexpected (temple block?) timbre. I am very drawn to the composer’s soundworld brought to life here in these committed performances. Opening with the newest and longest work, the Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra (2018) the programme ends with Lauda for Symphony Orchestra dating from 1985. Also included is Message (Vestijums) for two pianos, strings and percussion.

SP