Sunday, June 26, 2016

Over The Water - Music for Recorder & String Orchestra Franz Reizenstein - Arnold Cooke - Arthur Butterworth - Gordon Crosse - Elis Pehkonen - Michael Hurd - Antony Hopkins - Francis Jackson - Anthony Hedges - Dutton Epoch 2007

A summation of this Dutton Epoch release in 3 words: delightful, delightful, and delightful. I should add "surprising" as the real discovery here for me was the Concerto for Recorder and String Orchestra by Elis Pehkonen; a composer who was totally unknown to me until this recording. It is the most substantial work here, and in more ways than one; I am grateful for it's duration however it's the sheer beauty and craftsmanship of this concerto that makes it a home run for me. Pehkonen is an original musical personality.

Given the surname "Pehkonen" I confess that I anticipated music that might depict Norse legends and icy landscapes. Elis Pehkonen was born in Norfolk in 1942 but is of Finnish ancestry; his father was born in Karelia, Finland. All of the music that I have heard by Pehkonen I find simply breathtaking. "Over the Water", the only concerto on this all around delightful program - is also the most serious composition as most of the other music is light-hearted, jaunty, charming. Right from the get-go of Elis Pehkonen's Concerto I am transfixed, every time - I feel as if I am indeed boating over the water enveloped in a mysterious mist. The string writing is gorgeous and almost foreboding. The concerto is fascinating and displays an original voice til the very end. Arnold Cooke is one of my favorite English composers, and like Franz Reizenstein he was a pupil of Hindemith. I tend to enjoy any composer who spent time studying with the German master! Cooke's "Divertimento" is also a rather meaty, sinuous affair although it's sunny and optimistic (think Moeran, but with a touch of Hindemith)  compared to Pehkonen's dark and intriguing Concerto. Needless to say it is another  highlight of this generous compilation. Arthur Butterworth's short Reverie "Farewell Manchester" (which is the tune this piece is based on) is lovely. Butterworth (d. 2014), was of no relation to the great and tragically short-lived George Butterworth, although both studied initially with Vaughan Williams. Other highlights imo are the "Partita for Recorder and String Orchestra" by Franz Reizenstein which displays especially fine writing for the strings as well as Michael Hurd's "Three-Piece Suite". As above mentioned, the whole disc is charming, and the other pieces too are worth knowing and tuneful! 

I have a couple other pieces (also thanks to the folks at Dutton) by Elis Pehkonen that I will post.
Otherwise it is difficult to find his music. The label Merlin Classics has released 3 discs of his music, including the "Russian Requiem", which is supposedly something quite special. I believe all three discs are only available from the Merlin website. I simply haven't had the $$ to spend. 

Although no real information is provided, these recordings can be found here if you care to take a look:

Enjoy everyone!



Marcelo Lasta said...

Gracias por estas joyitas,master Tzadik!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Declan said...

Perfect in ewvery way!! The concerto is a real gift, thank you tz!!

cjvinthechair said...

Mr. Tzadik - away for a few days; missed some nice posts - this one in particular, thanks. Much underrated instrument, the recorder....or I should say the recorder family, as there are wide ranges of sound to be made !

Now - posting; we may have a problem, as I'm not at all up to speed with uploading to Zippyshare/Mega/Cloud etc.
I do have a Dropbox account, & share with a few on-line folk that way.
Problem I'm afraid is that for these sort of things to work, we probably have to be putting E-mail addresses up here, which understandably is not likely to be happening. Not sure I know a way round - but would be entirely happy to share if you can think of one.

Anonymous said...

Hi do you have the new recording on Dutton featuring the Britten and Delius violin concertos and the Milford Darkling Thrush?