CDs May 2022

CARL VINE – COMPLETE PIANO SONATAS
XIAOYA LIU, piano
DYNAMIC CDS7931 69’56

A “full-on” contemporary experience is guaranteed with this CD which contains the composer’s four Piano Sonatas, written between 1990 and 2019. Mostly dense, exuberant, extrovert writing, with some more restrained passages, they are brought to life in these committed performances from Xiaoya Liu. World premiere recordings.

MANUEL MARIA PONCE – COMPLETE PIANO WORKS 3
ALVARO CENDOYA, piano
GRAND PIANO GP772 69’25

According to the notes Manuel Ponce was a leading light in Mexican nationalist music. These are lovely performances of music which is sometimes lyrical, sometimes more rhythmic and virtuosic. His music shows varied influences from the Western Romantic pianistic tradition to local folk and dance music. The CD presents these works, from the first four decades of the 20th Century, in a well balanced programme.

SELIM PALMGREN – COMPLETE PIANO WORKS 4
JOUNI SOMERO, piano
GRAND PIANO GP907 72’39

Jouni Somero continues this survey of a rather neglected late 19th/20th Century composer who was a student of Busoni. It is lovely to hear these pieces freshly presented in fine new performances. There is a range of colour and expression here in music that takes up the batons of both the Romantic and Impressionist movements and also draws on jazz and folk influences. Alongside a number of miniatures are several more extended works including Nocturne in 3 Scenes, 3 Fantasies and Triptych.

CAMARGO GUARNIERI – CHOROS 2
SAO PAULO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA & SOLOISTS
ROBERTO TIBIRICA, conductor
NAXOS 8.574403 70’13

Naxos’ Music of Brazil strand continues with this 2nd volume of Choros (concertos) highlighting in turn clarinet, piano, viola and cello. Alongside these four works is Flor de Tremembe, which has some similarities in compositional style. This is mostly infectious, spirited music. It is a delight to listen to this programme of pieces which deserve to be so much more widely known.

LORD BERNERS – SONGS + PIANO MUSIC
IAN PARTRIDGE, tenor
LEN VORSTER, piano
NAXOS 8.554475 51’45

There is a lightness and playfulness to much of this highly individual composer’s work as demonstrated in the opening Polka. An immediate contrast is to be found in his Lieder Album- Three Songs in the German manner which combine a surprisingly percussive piano part with the lyrical vocal line which at times verges on the atonal. There is much humour but of a more cerebral kind! A welcome and highly entertaining release from these two able performers.

ROBERT DOCKER – 3 CONTRASTS – BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC 7
WILLIAM DAVIES, piano. DAVID PRESLEY, oboe
RTE CONCERT ORCHESTRA, BARRY KNIGHT, conductor
NAXOS 8.574322 74’38

This disc highlights the work of a prolific composer in this genre. These are re-released recordings from 1995 but none the worse for that! There is a fresh feel to this music, rich in melody and with inventive orchestration. Opening with perhaps Docker’s most famous piece, Legend, other highlights are the Three Contrasts of the title, the Pastiche Variations and the contrasting Air. A lovely release.

ARNOLD SCHOENBERG – STRING QUARTETS
GRINGOLTS QUARTET
BIS-2567 79’31

Of the two Quartets performed here, No 1 is the most accessible for the general listener. No 3 is more angular and less melodic but the medium of the string quartet still makes for an ‘easier’ sound than the composer’s music for other forces. Fresh recordings from this well balanced group make for a very welcome release.

SAMUEL BARBER – THE COMPLETE SONGS
FLEUR BARRON, MARY BEVAN, SAMANTHA CLARKE, JESS DANDY, LOUISE KEMENY,
SORAYA MAFI, JULIEN VAN MELLAERTS, DOMINIC SEDGWICK, NICKY SPENCE,
WILLIAM THOMAS, soloists
NAVARRA STRING QUARTET
DYLAN PEREZ, piano
RESONUS RES10301 (2CDs) 80’26

A brilliant production from Resonus collecting the whole of Barber’s song settings, performed by a variety of singers, with many familiar names, ably assisted throughout by pianist Dylan Perez. Many of these songs will be unfamiliar, some recorded for the first time.

SP

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