This is my favorite recording of Robert Kyr's music. These three concertos for violin are gorgeous and such a supreme delight!! The violinists who take on these concertos are incredible and I cannot fathom better interpretation. As I mentioned in the last post, it's really baffling that there are barely any recordings of Kyr's instrumental or orchestral music (for example he has written 12 symphonies - that's just the tip of the iceberg) and this disc will leave you wanting for much much more, I assure you. Each concerto in Kyr's trilogy is gold; although there is emotional depth and a philosophy that strings these works together (the violinist is seen as the "adventurer" traveling within these three "spiritual landscapes") each concerto is highly individual, yet consistency is to be found in the form of sublime lyricism and tonality - this folks, is a total knockout. That's my capsule rating - indeed this music is near perfection....to my ears.
The Concerto No. 1 "On the Nature of Love" contains thirteen variations on the hymn tune "What Wond'rous Love is This" and will pull at the heart-strings indeed. The work has something of a neo-romantic feel and with it's combination of violin and string orchestra it has a radiant beauty that is within the musical realm I think of Vaughan Williams to a degree. Robert Kyr is not afraid to write music that is gorgeous, traditional yet modern simultaneously. You just might want to put this on "repeat" but do not forget: there are two more concertos to go!
The Concerto No. 2 "On the Nature of Harmony" is also ridiculously beautiful and lyrical. This concerto shares the East meets West sound world of the great Lou Harrison; in no small part due to the addition of a gamelan ensemble which makes this concerto feel like a quasi double concerto of sorts. The violin writing is fiery and virtuosic (think of John Adam's kinetic violin concerto perhaps - add to this the Balinese musical tradition of a metallic orchestra and the result is spiritually and emotionally satisfying - as is the case in all three concertos - but here especially it's an aural cosmos of tranquility and explosiveness co-exisiting, and it's a "place" that is gripping and exciting to the end.
Concerto No. 3 "On the Nature of Peace" is of a darker shade than the other two concertos, with ominous orchestral colors engrossing the listener. One feels a sense of unease and opposing forces (the first movement is aptly titled "conflict") from the very start - the opening literally smashes it's way into your ears with a metallic blast and sense-misura playing in the strings. The second movement finds the violin singing a mournful song, yet as the movement and it's adventurer continue on their way, the feel is (just a tad) hopeful imo, yet the intensity still looms large. The third movement "Reconciliation" is just that; it is joyful and celebratory as the murkiness melts away, the sun now beating down on the listener's face - it's a satisfying trip and in the end all is well with the world it appears.
I can type out the composer's notes from the booklet if anyone would like - I just cannot do this today.
Enjoy this tremendous trilogy!