Thursday, November 6, 2014

Something Old Something New: Music For Recorder & Strings - Arnold Cooke - Alan Hovhaness - Antonio Vivaldi - J.B. de Boismortier

This Titanic Records disc from 1990 is a true gem to me. It was hard enough to find years ago, but with it's recording of the rare Hovhaness "Sextet for Recorder, String Quartet, and Harpsichord" I would have travelled to the Himalayas to acquire it. And what a magical piece it is. I find it to be one of AH's best chamber pieces, and the unusual scoring makes it that much more intriguing and magical; with each listen I experience it anew, mesmerized, awaiting each and every turn and wrinkle, every plucked string and song, mysterious aleatoric passages and stately harpsichord, recorder songs transporting me back to ancient times only to thrust me back firmly in the present with the utmost excitement. This recording is also significant as it also introduced me to the music of Arnold Cooke, a major discovery for me. His "Concerto for Recorder and String Orchestra" really impressed me and opened up a reservoir of interest in this composer. As in much of Cooke's music,
the studies with Paul Hindemith are clearly evident, although typically subtle. The concerto reminds me, to a degree, of Vagn Holmboe's lovely Recorder Concerto also. It's one the finest examples of recorder music in the 20th century. 

The Vivaldi Concerto in C I have always been fond of (I am rather fond of all of the almost countless Vivaldi concerti though) and here receives a strongly committed performance, although sonically it's a tad tinny sounding and lacks robustness due to I assume, spatial relationships & concert hall. (a quick play with a decent EQ will solve this mostly)
The Boismortier Concerto is elegant, although underwhelming imo. Probably why I rarely revisit
any all Boismortier discs that I own. The last piece by Jonathan Lovenstein was written for the great recorder soloist John Tyson. It's a forgettable barely 4 minute piece.

Track listing:

Antonio Vivaldi - Concerto in C Minor
1)Allegro non molto

Joseph Bodin de Boismortier - Concerto in G Major

Arnold Cooke - Concerto for Recorder and String Orchestra (1957)
7)Allegro Vivace
10)Variations on Prince Rupert's March

Alan Hovhaness - Sextet for Recorder, String Quartet, and Harpsichord (1958)
13)Allegro vivo

15)Jonathan Lovenstein - Fantasie (1987)

*The string orchestra is not named or mentioned anywhere in the cd



Anonymous said...

Sexteto con recorder de Hovhaness,suuuuuuuuuuuuper,inédito,opus extraño,fascinant,Tzadik,este blog is the best foy opus misteriosos y bellos!! Tapirman desde la Argentina.

Tzadik said...

Hola Tapirman, happy you like the Hovhaness! It's an unusual and great piece. Thanks for the blog compliment :) -Do you like any Argentinian composers, such as Alberto Ginastera?

Anonymous said...

could you post this: 2)Hovhaness-Symphony No.2 etc. -Delos records, Gerard Schwartz, SSO (still the finest recording of Mysterious Mountain available) ?

I'd really like to hear


Tzadik (it's me) said...

Hi anon, I agree with you!! I still love that recording most of all...will post it soon for you

Ernesto Nosthas said...

Greetings from El Salvador, in the middle of the Americas

Wonderful blog, I found spectacular cds in your post. This disc is amazing!!! the Hovhaness is wonderful, and the Vivaldi Concerto is performed with class and panache. Wolderful

Regarding the info of the performers, you will find in label website:

John Tyson, recorder
Frances Conover Fitch, harpsichord;
Jane Starkman, Katharyn Shaw, violins;
Jann Cosart, viola;
Alice Robbins, violoncello;
Tom Coleman, double bass.

Recorded at Wellesley Hills Congregational Church, Wellesley, Massachusetts in November 1987 and April 1988.
Produced by Ken Fitch, Roy Sansom, and Jonathan Lovenstein.
Design: The Philidor Company, Boston
Total playing time: 51:26

About TYSON:

orbisonn1 said...

y have a Great Blog but this link is death so can y plse repost it Thanks and Greetings I Apreciate Hovhaness music who was a unknown composer to me before i found your blog