CARLO ALESSANDRO LANDINI – SONATA N.7 PER PIANOFORTE
MASSIMILIANO DAMERINI, piano
TACTUS TC951203 56’01
Written in 2017-18 this Sonata is through-composed and quite an intense listening experience due to the duration and density of composition. Without a score it is not clear if there are any marked jumping on or off points – I suspect not – as there are no track divisions on the recording. Landini was born in Italy in 1954 and the liner notes place his writing alongside composers including Scriabin, Messiaen and Ligeti.
GRAZYNA BACEWICZ – COMPLETE SYMPHONIC WORKS VOL 1
WDR SINFONIENORCHESTER, LUKASZ BOROWICZ, conductor
CPO 555 556-2 54’13
The work of this significant Polish 20th Century composer seems to be suddenly all around us – and that is a very good thing! This music – and there is much of it – deserves to be more widely heard and known. On the CD here we have tremendous performances of two substantial, life-affirming works – the 3rd & 4th Symphonies. This series is very welcome, aiming to record the whole of Bacewicz’ symphonic writing, some of which has not yet been recorded and much of which is only known well in her native Poland.
LOUIS GLASS – SYMPHONY NO 4
STAATSORCHESTER RHEINISCHE PHILHARMONIE, DANIEL RAISKIN, conductor
CPO 777 898-2 54’38
Danish composer Louis Glass is unknown to me. His substantial output from late 19th to early 20th Centuries sounds, from hearing this example, to be well worth exploring. The 4th Symphony, in a spirited performance here by the SRP is music to be stirred and inspired by. A lovely recoding.
SERGEJ MAINGARDT – STRAIGHT RUN
KRISZTIAN PALAGYI, accordion
TAL BOTVINIK, electric guitar
BUNDESJUGENDORCHESTER, LOTHAR ZAGROSEK, conductor
QUASAR QUATOR DE SAXOPHONES
PAUL ALVARES, piano
SEBASTIAN BERWECK, keyboard
COLOGNE GUITAR QUARTET
ENSEMBLE GARAGE, MARIANO CHIACCHIARINI, conductor
WERGO WER 6437 2 37’03
This short running CD packs so much into its three tracks – Rush, Flower’s silence in empty guns and Declare Independence. Maingardt’s music is eclectic and vibrant bringing a wonderful collection of diverse timbres and rhythms together to make a striking (pun intended?) musical offering. More!
DER WILDE SOUND DER 20ER – 1923: BARTOK, KRENEK, TOCH, WEILL
CHOR & SYMPHONIEORCHESTER DES BAYERISCHEN RUNDFUNKS,
HOWARD ARMAN & CRISTIAN MACELARU
BR KLASSIK 900206 69’04
The early days of radio in Berlin are the inspiration for this centenary retrospective with new recordings of music from four composers who were actively involved with the developing media at the time. Toch’s Tanz-Suite and Ernst Krenek’s Drei gemischte Chore a capella perhaps show a lighter and more accessible side than what might often be associated with their music. Another Tanz-Suite is the Bartok work here alongside Weill’s Frauentanz. An intriguing release which should help to spotlight not only this lesser known music but also the rapidly changing society from which it sprung. Interesting notes are to be found in the accompanying booklet.
1923: ANDRE CAPLET – LE MIROIR DE JESUS
CHOR DES BAYERISCHEN RUNDFUNKS
MUNCHER RUNDFUNKORCHESTER, HOWARD ARMAN, conductor
BR KLASSIK 900342 60’34
Following on from the recording above is this further issue focussing on the same year and setting. Andre Caplet’s last major work is a setting of fifteen poems by Henri Gheon exploring scenes in the life of Jesus told from the perspective of his mother. At times there is some similarity to techniques used by Debussy and Schonberg and interesting relationships between text and music, speech and song as found in other works from this period.
ARTURS MASKATS – ACCORDION CONCERTO & ORCHESTRAL WORKS
KSENIJA SIDOROVA, accordion
LATVIAN NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, ANDRIS POGA, conductor
ONDINE ODE 1419-2 53’52
A wonderfully diverse collection of music from this contemporary Latvian composer whose work spans a number of different musical fields. The spirited Tango (2002) pairs well with the very recent Accordion Concerto “What the wind told the sea” and is followed by a further two pieces, Cantus Diatonicus (1982) and the extended My river runs to thee from 2019. All of this music was new to me and very enjoyable.
CAROLS AFTER A PLAGUE
THE CROSSING, DONALD NALLY, conductor
NEW FOCUS FCR 357B 66’34
The Crossing continue to be an innovative and boundary breaking choir, creating and exploring new repertoire as in this their latest project. Twelve composers have created new works as part of a commission to respond to the deliberately ambiguous title of “Carols after a plague”. As well as obviously referring to the time of the pandemic, the ‘plague’ could be “the ongoing plagues we endure: racism, poverty, displacement, environmental deterioration, gun violence, homelessness…” The word ‘carol’ could also be interpreted in different ways. Words by Walt Whitman and Alex Dimitrov amongst others are to be found in musical settings by composers including Shara Nova (whose three sectioned work punctuates the disc) and Vanessa Lann. Of particular interest are the wordless Requiem for a Plague by Tyshawn Sorey and Nina Shekhar’s y-mas which takes words from popular Christmas songs and repurposes them with nostalgic irony. Samantha Fernando’s Everything passes, everything is connected also stood out for me with it’s sparseness of text and almost liturgical / monastic structure. This is a wonderful thought-provoking collection with much to explore.
CAMARGO GUARNIERI – PIANO MUSIC 2
MAX BARROS, piano
NAXOS 8.573632 77’52
Despite not being a universally well-known name Guarnieri is “considered to be the most important Brazilian composer next to Villa-Lobos”. I find this music really draws me in, with often haunting melodies and interesting use of harmony and rhythm. This CD has lovely performances of 3 sets, each of 10 pieces – Improvisos, Valsas and Momentos.
PALMGREN – COMPLETE PIANO WORKS – 6
JOUNI SOMERO, piano
GRAND PIANO GP909 69’37
This excellent series continues with a volume of further miniatures and also some more extended pieces – Ungdom (Youth) & Three Piano Pieces. The disc is highly varied, opening with Juhlapreludi (Festive Prelude) and ending with the virtuosic A Mephisto Waltz. There are many more intimate and reflective moments as well.
KETELBEY – BELLS ACROSS THE MEADOWS
SYLVIA CAPOVA, piano
SLOVAK PHILHARMONIC MALE CHORUS
SLOVAK RADIO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, ADRIAN LEAPER, conductor
NAXOS 8.555175 73’33
The British Light Music series continues with this re-release of Marco Polo recordings of orchestral versions of this popular composer’s music. Alongside familiar pieces including In a Monastery Garden, In a Persian Market and the title track are some interesting lesser known works including The Adventurers, Chal Romano and Suite Romantique.
CLAUDIO SANTORI – FANTASIAS SUL AMERICA / SONATA FOR SOLO VIOLIN
SOLOISTS OF THE SAO PAULO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
NAXOS 8.574407 58’13
Having recently enjoyed getting to know a number of Santoro’s orchestral works through this Music of Brazil strand I have to admit to being quite surprised by this latest volume. Giving a number of instruments the limelight in turn in this way allows the composer to draw out particular moods and expressions with a flexibility and without the need to balance and contrast a number of different forces. The notes state that the Fantasies have now become standard repertoire for Brazilian soloists and also that they were used as source material for Santori’s Symphony No 12. Many of these are premiere recordings.
HOUGH – DUTILLEUX – RAVEL: STRING QUARTETS
HYPERION CDA68400 67’47
There is a freshness to contemporary string music that always appeals to me. I am often very pleasantly surprised at the different ways that the composer can employ the same sources and enjoy the juxtaposition of different composers’ approaches on a CD like this. Dutilleux’ Ainsi la nuit is the middle work here between Stephen Hough’s String Quartet No 1 (Les Six recontres) and Ravel’s String Quartet in F major. Lovely.