Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Reinhold Gliere - Concerto for Cello & Orchestra - Concerto for Coloratura Soprano & Orchestra - Wartime Music (1941-1945) Vol. 13 - Northern Flowers

Reinhold Gliere (born in Kiev on January 11 1875, died in Moscow on June 23, 1956) was born into the world of Tsarist Russia and grew up amidst the glorious accomplishments of Tchaikovsky and "The Five" who created a strong nationalistic language for Russian music. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Tchaikovsky's favorite pupil Taneyev (counterpoint) and with Arensky (harmony) and Ippolitov-Ivanov (composition), all composers whose work represented the fulsome richness of late romanticism with Slavic coloration, and in the case of Ippolitov-Ivanov, a strong interest in exoticism. Though Gliere lived beyond the middle of the 20th century, his music never really left the Russian romantic tradition. He worked on the grand scale producing music in the large forms, including three symphonies (the last, a program work on a Russian folk hero entitled Ilya Murometz, is of Mahlerian proportions, running over an hour and a half in a complete performance), ballets, operas, concertos, chamber works and also instrumental pieces. His best-known work (along with his Third Symphony "Ilya..") by far is a single number, the “Russian Sailors’ Dance,” from the 1927 ballet "The Red Poppy". Otherwise Gliere remains still a rather under-appreciated composer, for which there is no justification. 

Issuing these two concertos as part of Northern Flowers's wonderful "Wartime Music" seems an odd choice in a sense, although I love Gliere's music so I'm happy they did. Ok-so these two events, the war and Gliere’s existence, coincided. No doubt the composer experienced the vicissitudes of World War II in the day-to-day management of his life, but if a war intruded on any of his works, it was the Golden Horde of Batu Khan that the legendary Ilya Murometz fought. None of these observations about his wartime status intrude on the quality of his music, of course. At his best, Gliere created beautiful works that demonstrate a strong fusion of form and expressive content, where there is never any question whether a bridge could be improved upon, or a theme treated differently and to better effect. His music is instantly likable and in many cases lovable!  These two concertos are prime examples of this.

The Cello Concerto is a typical Gliere piece, firmly in the classic tradition but with some surprises. The first movement, Allegro, introduces the principal theme with the solo cello, and there are long unaccompanied sections where the cello trills freely. With the added strings comes the beautiful melody that gradually develops lyrically, followed a little later by the supporting theme introduced by an oboe. These grow in scale until a totally unexpected new orchestral melody suddenly arrives to leave us wondering where did it all come from. The second movement, Andante, fully displays the Russian character of the concerto, through the (deliberate?) allusion to the Polovtsian Dances from the opera "Prince Igor", composed by another of Gliere’s famous predecessors, Alexander Borodin (1833-1887). The melody is skillfully used as an underscore to the movement. It beautifully exposes its heartfelt melancholy, its atmospheric, nearly nocturnal characteristics, as suits a truly romantic work. The final movement, Allegro Vivace, is suitably the most vivacious of the three. It is almost cinematic in style, effortlessly taking the listener into a world of sound that could easily be translated into images of a virtuoso dancer executing a complex choreography. This is perhaps revealing of Gliere’s excellent understanding of ballet music and gives the concerto a final touch of elegance.

Gliere composed his "Concerto for Coloratura Soprano and Orchestra" in 1943 and it is dedicated to Debhora Jakobwewna Pantofel-Netschezka. It was premiered in Moscow that year with the Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio under the direction of Orlov. In addition to the soprano soloist, the score calls for pairs of flutes, oboes, clarinets, and bassoons, three horns, timpani, triangle, glockenspiel, harp, and strings. A concerto for a vocal soloist singing wordlessly is extremely unusual. Generally speaking vocal music without words (vocalise) is intended as etudes for singers, study pieces designed to develop vocal agility, a smooth legato, and other technical elements, though rarely intended for performance before an audience. Still, there are a few pieces that have achieved wide popularity in which a singer has no words to project. The first movement of Heitor Villa-Lobos's "Bachianas brasileiras" No. 5 for eight cellos and soprano is one such work. Another, surely known to Gliere, was Rachmaninoff's "Vocalise". One of my favorites, although of a different nature, is RVW's "Flos Campi". What is unusual in this case is that Gliere has written an actual concerto (though a rather short one, in two movements) of this type. The first is an Andante, mostly dreamy in character, though with coloratura flourishes; the second is a waltz of progressively increasing brilliance. This is one of a number of works based on the folk culture of various nationalities embraced by the Soviet Union, including Ukrainian, as well as the peoples of the Transcaucasus and central Asia. Many of these works are based on folk tunes treated with a vivid imagination for orchestral color. These predilections matched well the requirements of the Soviet government for music accessible to the people, and Glière received the title People’s Artist of the USSR in 1938.

There is another wonderful version of Gliere's Coloratura concerto on an earlier Chandos disc, coupled with his Harp Concerto, and the Harp Concerto of Ginastera as well.


-This is another Apple Lossless post (as always m4a, which can be lossy or lossless)

Part 1


Part 2



nhac giaohuong said...

2-19-2015 Today is Luna New Year in VietNam

Your Blog 's very good. I like it very much


Anonymous said...

Magnífico Cello concerto,jamas lo oí,gracias Tzadik,¿podrias subirlo en mp3?,disculpa el pedido,nunca escuche ese opus 87 del ruso,además la portada del cd,la foto es estremecedora y sublime,por favor,amigo.UN CD digno de publicar en tu magno blog. Tapirman

Paul Terry said...

Hello Tzadik, I'm DLing this now, thank you. You have inspired me to start my own blog. It will feature Classicl Guitar music. If you would like to check into it here's the address:

Toon van Dijk said...

Many thanks and regards from The Netherlands.
Veel dank en groeten uit Nederland.

Tzadik said...

nhac, well happy (late) Lunar New Year! Its nice to hear from you again. Hope you keep coming around :)


Tzadik said...

Doktor T feliz es nuevo para usted! La foto de la portada es exactamente como usted lo describe; habla de hecho sobre los absurdos de la guerra. -Puedo Publicar esto como mp3 pero, ¿por qué los quieres como mp3? Archivos m4a Doktor T son en realidad una mayor calidad, más o menos una más "moderna" mp3, y jugar con facilidad en la mayoría de los reproductores de medios en estos días. Déjame saber lo que piensa antes de las codifican de manera diferente de acuerdo? Su TZ

Tzadik said...

Hi Paul you are quite welcome! I have to say I am honored that you have been inspired by my blog, how great to hear! I will check it out, look forward to doing so, and I will of course add you to my fellow bloggers links! Regards, TZ

Tzadik said...

Hallo Toon you are welcome, thx for commenting!


Paul Terry said...

I will happily add your link to my links page (As soon as I figure out which app to use for links! That would be the downside of the "new to blogging" thing.)

Anonymous said...

Querido TZADIK,prefiero en mp3,pues se ahorra mucho espacio,tengo miles y miles de cd's ,en la pc y en pendrives,por tanto ,me parece más fácil,por cierto cdo. algun dico me gusta mucho,lo encargo a un amigo de una disqueria y me lo traen por avión de UK,así he encargado obras raras y sublimes como Sueño de una noche de verano de Orff,Sinfonia 8 de Lloyd,Sinfonia 11 de Hovhaness,sinfonias y opus de Jacob y Braunfels,en fin,cuando me gusta gasto mucho $ por esos discos reales y netos,,para sentirlos como Mad Melomano y discómano,un abrazo,mi amigo.Tapirman.

Tzadik said...

Hey doctor T, te pedimos algunos discos fantásticos! Sé que debe ser muy entusiasmados con el Lloyd :) mp3 -Acerca VS m4a: los archivos en realidad son más o menos el mismo tamaño * *, es sólo que m4a @ 320 en mejor calidad que la mayor mp3 @ 320. He publicado un pocas cosas tan m4a "sin pérdidas", es decir la única vez que hay una diferencia. archivos m4a se pueden codificar sin pérdidas -o- pérdida. Por lo tanto, si se trata de un puesto sin pérdida haré mp3 para usted; de lo contrario te aseguro m4a con pérdida es mejor y más o menos el mismo tamaño que el mp3! Saludos !! TZ