Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ippolitov-Ivanov, Tcherepnin, Rubinstein, Tansman - Quintets for Winds

Fantastic disc from Dynamic, I got this as soon as it came out, for the Ippolitov-Ivanov in particular.
His music is very very dear to me, and much to my frustration to this day there's still so few of his
works recorded! The whole program is nice, the Tcherepnin being the other highlight to my ears.

Track Listing:

Anton Rubinstein (1829-1894)

1. Quintet for flute, clarinet, horn, bassoon & piano in F major, Op. 55: Allegro non troppo
2. Quintet for flute, clarinet, horn, bassoon & piano in F major, Op. 55: Scherzo. Allegro
3. Quintet for flute, clarinet, horn, bassoon & piano in F major, Op. 55: Andante con moto
4. Quintet for flute, clarinet, horn, bassoon & piano in F major, Op. 55: Allegro appassionato

Alexander Tcherepnin (1899-1977)
5. Wind Quintet, Op. 107: Allegro marciale
6. Wind Quintet, Op. 107: Langsam
7. Wind Quintet, Op. 107: Feierlich

Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov (1859-1935)
8. An Evening in Georgia, for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and piano, Op. 71

Alexandre Tansman (1897-1986)
9. Danse de la Sorcière for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn & piano

Vaughan Williams-Mass in G & Britten-Ceremony of Carols, Missa Brevis

Plenty of versions out there of all three of these works. Here's one I just happened to be listening to earlier. I will say that I've never met a Vaughan Williams Mass in G that I didn't like; it's music too beautiful to destroy no matter the chorus or interpretation. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Stanley Bate & William Henry Bell - Viola Concertos (World Premieres) Vaughan Williams - Romance

Dutton's adventurous and explorative label, Dutton Epoch has an impressive on-going series surveying British composers, mostly lesser known, but also lesser known works by better known composers (Vaughan Williams, Bax, etc.) as well. This is one of the finest releases in the series; Stanley Bate's Viola Concerto is a major find- fans of Vaughan Williams (like myself) will be
in heaven, the concerto is beautiful. We also get a viola concerto "Rosa Mystica" by William Henry Bell. It's a real keeper too, but I prefer the Bate. Also Vaughan William's short "Romance". Enjoy!

Top of the Epoch list for October 2008 comes a gorgeous programme of viola concertos whose previous neglect no one at Dutton Epoch can understand. Played by celebrated British viola player Roger Chase, the Stanley Bate and W H Bell Concertos are both heart-warming and tuneful scores oozing popular appeal. These remarkable finds are made even more appealing by the coupling – Chase’s own orchestration of Vaughan Williams’s wonderful Romance. The BBC Concert Orchestra is on top form under the direction of Steve Bell, and to top it all Roger Chase plays the programme on Lionel Tertis’s celebrated Montagnana Viola.

New Link:


Boris Tischenko-Piano and Harp Concertos

By request. I kinda love Northern Flowers for making this music available. As in all of their discs.
The recordings were made in 1966 and 1979, and the disc was released in 2008. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Arnold Rosner - 2 discs Re-up @ 320 kbps

Perhaps I'm biased as I was a close friend, but I don't think so; I'm quite surprised that almost no one has commented, this music is powerful and with extreme beauty. If you are a fan of Hindemith, Hovhaness, Bloch, Vaughan Williams etc. then Rosner should blow you away-with his entirely personal voice of course although stylistically there are elements similar to the composers I mentioned. -I'd love to know what you think about it!

I have re-imported the 2 (thus far) Rosner discs I posted but now @ 320, I inadvertently posted them

@ 256 kbps the first time. Also hopefully those of you who have not checked out these posts yet will
now do so. You will be very happy you did. My dear friend was indeed an American master, and was
a force of nature, just like the music he penned. I hope everyone is moved like I always have been.  

Music by Arnold Rosner (Laurel Records)

Chamber Music of Arnold Rosner Vol. II (String Quartets Nos. 2, 3, 5, and Duet for Violas) (Albany)

Monday, August 25, 2014

An Homage to Lou Harrison Vol. 2

Volume 2. This recording has four premieres on it: The Clay's Quintet, A Majestic Fanfare, Rhymes with Silver (New Albion has recently recorded it as well), and Bomba for Percussion Quintet. Enjoy.

And here's what on it:

1-3 First Concerto (1939) for Flute and Percussion

4-9 The Clay's Quintet (1987) for Trumpet, Horn, Mandolin, Harp, and Percussion
10  A Majestic Fanfare (1963) for 3 Trumpets, Snare Drum, and Bass Drum
11-18 Rhymes with Silver (1996) for Violin, Viola, Cello, Piano and Percussion
19-24 The Perilous Chapel (1948) for Flute, Drums, Cello and Harp 
25 Bomba for Percussion Quintet
26-27 Ariadne (1987) for Flute and Percussion

An Homage to Lou Harrison Vol. 1

Volume 1 in the Dynamic Record's LH series with the Tammittam Percussion Ensemble of Italy. Enjoy.

      The treats on offer:

  • Concerto for Violin with Percussion Orchestra
  • Canticle #1
  • Suite for Percussion
  • Canticle #3 for Ocarina, Guitar and Percussion
  • Fugue for Percussion
  • Song of Quetzalcoatl
  • Concerto in slendro for Violin, Celesta, Two Tackpianos, and Percussion
  • (Sorry I started off lazy & didn't write as detailed a track list as I did
  • for Vol. 2) And, I'm awful at 'attempting' to use bullet points..

Kodaly - Symphony, Summer Evening, Hungarian Rondo

ASV disc from 1995 with somewhat lesser-known (especially the Symphony) Kodaly. Enjoy.

Kodaly-Music for Cello

First volume of Kodaly's Music for Cello on Naxos from 1996. Maria Kliegel, Cello and Jeno Jando, Piano. Enjoy.

Maria Kliegel in Kodály’s magnificent solo Cello Sonata offers a warm and fanciful performance, powerful and flowing. Jenő Jandó is an outstandingly sympathetic partner in the two-movement Op. 4 Sonata, a performance deeply introspective in the slow first movement and full of fantasy in the Allegro con spirito of the finale. The three Chorale Preludes are romantic arrangements—with the cello generally underlining the chorale melodies—of organ pieces attributed to Bach but now though spurious. -Penguin Guide 1999

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Choral Music of Kodaly Vol. 7

I am really in love with Zoltan Kodaly's choral music. I love all of his music but somehow I go back to the choral works more than even the solo cello works, the concerto, & all the other obvious and fabulous compositions. And happily, Kodaly wrote a lot of choral music. Volume 7 happens to be my favorite. This series on Hungaroton Classic is gold. Many of the other volumes I lost in a flood, and I am trying to replace the others but prices are high for these rare discs. Enjoy.

Skalkottas - Aho - Strauss

Great disc from MD&G, featuring Oboe Concertos by Nikos Skalkottas (a Concertino) and Richard Strauss. The Strauss is ubiquitous while the Skalkottas is basically unknown. We also get music for Oboe and Cello "Seven Inventions w. Postlude" by Kalevi Aho. Enjoy.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hovhaness-The Rubaiyat-Symphony No. 1 "Exile"

Among Hovhaness's influences was his Armenian heritage inherited through his father. These are very much to the fore in his First Symphony subtitled Exile which references the plight of Armenians who were forced to flee in their millions in the face of an onslaught by Ottoman Turks during the First World War. Lovers of big tunes will revel in the lush sonorities on display. They’re in evidence right from the first notes. These are given to the clarinet which introduces a plaintive tune taken up by other woodwind with the orchestra continuing the Middle Eastern-sounding scales and the music becoming disturbed and agitated. The second, short movement marked Grazioso is further demonstration of the melodies for which Hovhaness is rightly renowned. Woodwind sings out against a background of pizzicato from strings and harp. This allows for an interlude of calm before the third and final movement brings us back to agitation. Driving strings and winds recall the opening theme in chorale form which then becomes the main focus of the orchestra. The powerfully expressed message is that a whole people cannot be suppressed. Its spirit will reassert itself and prevail against all the odds. Enjoy!

"The Rubaiyat conjures up the spirit of ancient Persia in the time of the revered poet and sets his immortal lines in a framework of musically haunting images that evoke the fragility of life and of love - the fragility of everything, except fate. By the interweaving of narration, orchestra, and accordion, the composer demonstrates that the imperishability of the poetry is matched by the inevitability of the music," - Tom Carlson, from the liner notes of the world premiere recording by Andre Kostelanetz and the New York Philharmonic released on Columbia Masterworks in 1977.
Now, nearly two decades later, "The Rubaiyat" has finally been recorded a second time, in this case on the Delos label, and it is every bit as expressive and exciting as the first recording, which featured Douglas Fairbanks Jr. as narrator and Carmen Carrozza as accordionist.
I was, at first, tempted to compare the two recordings, (on the whole Douglas Fairbanks narrates with more passion and drama than Michael York, and Diane Schmidt's accordion seems to have a sweeter and more mellow sound than Carmen Carrozza's) but after listening to them one after another, I concluded that both recordings, although distinctive in flavor, (actually there are some minor musical revisions in the score) are also remarkably similar to each other.
For example, the original Kostelanetz recording is 13 minutes 52 seconds long and the Schwarz recording is 13 minutes 51 seconds long! This seems to indicate that both conductors took great pains to carefully follow the directions of the composer. Alan Hovhaness himself was present at the recording sessions of the recent Delos release and assisted in preparing the disc.
Alan Hovhaness, born in 1906, professes a strong dislike for serial music and other types of modern music that he describes as "machine music." He is firmly convinced that for music to be accepted and successful, it must be tonal and melodic. "People must get pleasure out of music. It must sound good." (interview with Daniel A. Binder)
The accordion is the featured solo instrument in the work and is blessed with many beautiful melodies, some gentle and lyrical and some driving and rhythmic. Many are derived from modes and seem to have a middle-eastern origin. Ms. Schmidt plays her part superbly and is prominently mentioned in the CD booklet. She received her Masters in Music in composition at the University of Washington and presently teaches theory and composition through the Seattle Community College system.
She won the World Accordion Competition (classical) in 1971, against a field traditionally dominated by Russians and Europeans. She has performed with Luciano Pavorotti and with chamber music groups such as the Philadelphia Quartet. She also recorded the Paul Creston Concerto for Accordion and Orchestra with the Seattle Youth Symphony.
"The Exile Symphony," Hovhaness' first symphony (1936) was inspired by the tragic plight of the Armenian people who endured severe persecution in Turkey in the 1930s and were forcibly exiled. One hears Oriental influences in the modal tonalities.
"Meditation on Orpheus" is a rather dark work which depicts that part of the Orpheus legend that describes the Greek hero's descent into the underworld in search of his deceased wife, which results in his own subsequent death. The piece includes ominous gongs, rippling harp, throaty bass of growlings, a rush of wind created by the strings playing fast random passages, and a fearsome crescendo for the brasses at the conclusion.
"Fantasy on Japanese Woodprints" Op. 211 (1965) evokes mystical atmospheres of the Far East with microtonal slides, pentatonic scales and the delicate use of the marimba, expertly played by Ron Johnson, marimbist for the Seattle Symphony for 30 years. A very memorable section of the piece for me is the oboe and clarinet solos about halfway into the work, which are note-for-note direct quotes from the second movement of Hovhaness' "Suite for Accordion" Op. 166 written in 1959! (review from 1995, I don't recall the source)

Hovhaness-Concerto for 2 Pianos (World Premiere), Lousadzak, 3 pieces for 2 Pianos

Black Box disc feauturing the world premiere recording of the Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, from 1954.
Also Three pieces for two pianos, and the sublime Lousadzak (Coming of Light) Concerto for Piano and Strings from
1944 (Hovhaness's important compositional "Armenian" period). There are several recordings of Lousadzak and this
one is quite good. Enjoy.

We have three works from Hovhaness for piano and various forces one of which will have escaped the attention of all but the most dedicated follower. This is the Concerto for two pianos and orchestra, written in 1954 but only premiered, by these forces, in Moscow in 2004. It’s a work that characteristically abjures virtuosic strut and pyrotechnics and concentrates instead on sonority and intriguing conjunctions. The opening is in full Hovhaness Renaissance style – rich, full, especially the brass that puts one in mind of ermined and ruffed ceremonial. The pianos sound more elliptical, full of plinking suggestions, decorative filigree and a surging VW nobility (I thought of Dives and Lazarus). There are very occasional dissonant interjections and a big role for the percussion towards the end of the first movement. In the slow movement he evokes the kanun – as the notes explain this is a zither-like instrument – and this, allied to important roles for brass and wind, includes a raga section. With the finale we have the cyclical return of the Renaissance ceremonial as well as more Indian derived motifs that drive forward with passion though the former leads to reiteration of the bold brass and wind themes before they’re taken up by the full orchestra; a gong crash lends a triumphant feel to the triumphant end.
The three pieces for two pianos comprise Mihr (1945), Vijag (1946) and Ko-ola-u(1962). They’re all short and brilliantly inventive. Mihr was the Armenian fire god and once more Hovhaness has recourse to kanun imitation as he had in the concerto for two pianos rendering an Eastern cast to the music for its entire length. Ruminative, feasting on repetition, it also evokes a faster allegro type drive; what strikes the ear most forcibly however are the ebullient patterns that seem to prefigure in some way minimalism without ever sinking into its frequent banality and bathos. Vijag is associated with an Armenian feast of Ascension and it had me hypnotised with its four-minute drone. Ko-ola-u is the most recent, named after a Hawaiian mountain range; ceremonial counterpoint over a drone inform this one, as does lissom writing and rhythmic sophistication.
Lousadzak – concerto for piano and orchestra was written in 1944. It opens in a withdrawn way but soon leads to an extensive cadenza, kanun imitation and evocative sonorities that evoke the Persian and Turkish lutes. Hovhaness writes a splendid passage for solo violin and plenty of treble flecked writing for the piano and directly summons up the sounds of bagpipes in a work that teems with colour as well as repetitive rhythmic gestures.

Track Listing:

Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orchestra
1. I: Andante
2. II: largo
3. III: Modereto
Three Pieces for 2 pianos
4. Mihr
5. Ko-Ola-U
6. Vijag
7. Lousadzak - Concerto For Piano And Strings

Hovhaness-Talin (and works by Diamond, Barber, etc.)

Fantastic disc from Citadel records 1995 (was originally an lp from 1977, the analog-to-digital transfer is superb) Needless to say I bought this back then especially for Hovhaness's Talin, but it's an essential recording of American music (especially the Barber and Diamond) all around. Enjoy!


"Talin," according to Hovhaness, "was an ancient Armenian cathedral whose beautiful ruins are a monument of architectural wonder, grandeur, and expressiveness." The music inspired by these ruins is considered by many Hovhaness specialists to be among the composer's most consistently inspired and most fully consummated creations. Originally scored for viola in 1952, the work was captured several years later in a magnificent performance by violist Emanuel Vardi on an MGM recording only briefly in circulation. During the mid 1970s, Hovhaness created an alternate version of the work for clarinetist Lawrence Sobol, who was an ardent champion of the composer's music during the 1970s and 80s. Sobol recorded this version of the work in 1977, a performance that was later reissued on compact disc. However, the intensity and fervent rapture of the work are generally felt to be more effectively projected by the viola.

"Talin" comprises three movements. In the first, somber melismatic incantations in an unusually dark, chromatic mode are heard in alternation with searingly devout passages of imitative modal counterpoint. The short second movement is a lively dance in Armenian style with virtuoso opportunities for the soloist. In the solemn third movement, reverent hymnlike passages, intensified by poignant suspensions and appoggiaturas, alternate with blisteringly ornate solo arabesques, which gradually build together toward an ecstatic conclusion.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Peter Sculthorpe-Earth Cry, Piano Concerto etc.

This recording of music by Tasmanian-born Peter Sculthorpe contains works that are related to the unique social climate and physical characteristics of the Pacific region. Earth Cry for didgeridoo and orchestra is a straightforward and melodious work whose four parts comprise quick, ritualistic music framed by slower music of a supplicatory nature and an extended coda. The Piano Concerto, written within the European concert tradition, is in one continuous movement, consisting of five sections with musical ideas from the ancient court music of Japan and the Balinese gamelan. From Oceania is composed in what is known as Sculthorpe’s Sun Music style, in which the orchestra is treated like a giant percussion instrument. (from the Naxos disc) Enjoy.

The present recording contains works that, in one way or another, are related to the Pacific region, including Australia. They were written during the last thirty years of my compositional life.
In many ways, Australia is the one of the few places on Earth where one can honestly write quick and joyous music. All the same it would be dishonest of me to write music that is wholly optimistic. The lack of a common cause and the self-interest of many have drained Australian society of much of its energy. A bogus national identity and its commercialisation have obscured the true breadth of our culture. Most of the jubilation, I feel, awaits us in the future. We now need to attune ourselves to the continent, to listen to the cry of the earth as the Aborigines have done for many thousands of years. Earth Cry (1986) is a straightforward and melodious work. Its four parts are made up of a quick ritualistic music framed by slower music of a supplicatory nature, and an extended coda. While the work is very much in my own personal idiom, the treatment of the orchestra represents a new departure. This is particularly noticeable in the way that instruments are doubled. First and second violins, for instance, sing in unison for most of the work, and lower strings often sing with the lower brass. Furthermore, in order to summon up broader feelings and a broader landscape I have added a part for didgeridoo.
It seems that on Easter Island, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, there was a population explosion. The inhabitants stripped the islands of trees, causing soil erosion and depriving themselves of building materials for boats and housing. Retreating to caves, clans fought each other, and finally there was enslavement and cannibalisation. By the time the first Europeans arrived, in 1722, the survivors had even forgotten the significance of the great stone heads that still stand there. Easter Island is a memento mori (literally ‘remember to die’) for this planet. The concern of this work, therefore, is not with what happened to the inhabitants of Easter Island, but with what could happen to all of us, with what could happen to the human race. Much of the music, then, is dominated by the oscillation of the pitches G and A flat, which the astronomer Kepler, a contemporary of Shakespeare, believed to be the sound of planet earth. I have also used part of the plainchant Dies irae, from the Latin Requiem Mass. Memento Mori (1993) is a straightforward work, in one movement. Following an introduction, two statements of the plainchant lead into music of lamentation, music which is based on the Kepler premise. Two further statements of the plainchant lead to the climax. This is followed by music of regret, which also suggests the possibility of salvation.
During the period that my Piano Concerto (1983) was written, three of my closest friends died. Furthermore I was involved in an almost-fatal accident. The work, however, is more concerned with lifeaffirmation than with death, and if I have written more within the European concert tradition than is my custom, this is because I felt that the genre demanded it. All the same, at one time I considered calling the work ‘Pacific’. In one continuous movement, the work is in five sections: Grave - Animato - Grave, Calmo, Animato - Risoluto, Come Notturno, Estatico. The first section is related to the third and fourth sections, and the second, the longest, is related to the last, although motives from the opening do appear in these two sections. Flutes and clarinets are omitted from the orchestra, so that the wind instruments used form a reed choir, consisting of two oboes, two bassoons and a contra-bassoon. It might be added that some of the musical ideas stem from both the ancient court music of Japan and the Balinese gamelan.
From Oceania (1970/2003) is based upon the last part of my orchestral work, Music for Japan. The latter was written for the Australian Youth Orchestra to play my Sun Music style, I thought of it as a present to Japan from Australia. Unlike most of my music, it contains no melodic material and little harmonic movement. Instead the orchestra is treated almost like a giant percussion instrument. In From Oceania, I begin with percussion itself. Other instruments are gradually added, leading to a section marked Feroce, ma ben misurato, and a climax consisting of a tone cluster spanning the entire orchestra. An E major chord is then twice revealed, followed by a coda, most of which is unmeasured.
Kakadu (1988) takes its name from the Kakadu National Park in Northern Australia. An enormous wilderness area, it extends from coastal tidal plains to rugged mountain plateaux, and the culture of the local tribe, the gagadju, dates back for some fifty thousand years. Sadly, today there are only a few remaining speakers of the language. The work, then, is concerned with my feeling about this place, its landscape, its change of seasons, its dry season and its wet, its cycle of life and death. Basically the music is in three parts. The outer parts are dance-like and energetic, with all the melodic material, as in much of my recent music, suggested by the contours and and rhythms of indigenous chant. The somewhat introspective central part, preceded by a dramatic section containing imitations of birdsong, is quite firmly based upon a chant from this particular area. Kakadu was commissioned in 1988 by an American friend, Emanuel Papper, as a gift for his wife, upon her birthday. The cor anglais, which is played in the quiet sections of the work, represents his voice. In the central part, for instance, the long chromatic melody played in counterpoint with the chant is intended as an expression of his love.
Peter Sculthorpe

Peter Sculthorpe-Orchestral Works

Another ABC Classics disc, this one from 1990 with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Stuart Challender, Director. Enjoy

Track Listing:

1. Earth Cry
2. Irkanda 4, for violin, strings & percussion
3. Small Town, for oboe, 2 trumpets, strings & timpani
4. Kakadu
5. Mangrove

Peter Sculthorpe-Works for Chamber Orchestra

ABC classics disc from 1996, with Australian Chamber Orchestra & Richard Tognetti, Director.

Track listing:

1. Port Essington: I Prologue: The Bush (Con ferocita)
2. Port Essington: II Theme And Variations: The Settlement (Alla marcia - Con grazia - Con soavita - Teneramente - Cadenza - Alla marcia)
3. Port Essington: III Phantasy: Unrest (Come veduta a volo d'uccello)
4. Port Essington: IV Nocturnal: Estrangement (Tristemente - Con ferocita)
5. Port Essington: V Arietta: Farewell (Con desiderio pieno di malinconia)
6. Port Essington: VI Epilogue: The Bush (Con semplicita)
7. Sonata For Strings No.1: I Sun Song (Deciso - Piu mosso)
8. Sonata For Strings No.1: II Chorale (Con pieta)
9. Sonata For Strings No.1: III Interlude (Risoluto - Calmo)
10. Sonata For Strings No.1: IV Chorale (Con pieta)
11. Sonata For Strings No.1: V Sun Song (Deciso - Piu mosso)
12. Lament For Strings
13. Sonata For Strings No.2
14. Sonata For Strings No.3: I Deciso
15. Sonata For Strings No.3: II Liberamente - Estatico
16. Irkanda IV

Peter Sculthorpe-In Memoriam (1929-2014) -The String Quartets Vol.2

Peter Sculthorpe, Australia's greatest late 20th century composer died on August 8th, 2014 in Sydney. He was Born April 29th, 1929 in Tasmania. Sculthorpe derived much of his inspiration from nature;
indigenous musics from the Pacific Rim (Aboriginal, Japanese, Balinese and the sounds of the wild
birds, wind, and thunder too are evocative sources) synthesized into a music that was all his own.
Wonderfully colored, oft melancholic, desolate at times.. 

This is Vol. 2 of his String Quartets (Tall Poppies records) and I will post Volumes 1 and 3 once

I find where I put them! Enjoy

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dmitri Klebanov-Japanese Silhouettes & Viola Concerto

Ess.a.y records made a bold move and did a tremendous service to (specialty) audiences in 1997 by releasing this absolute gem of a disc of music by the practically unknown composer Dmitri Klebanov.

Japanese Silhouettes is part song cycle yet at the same time a Concerto for ViolaD'amore. Odd combination but I'm happy it is, the results are wonderful. The Viola Concerto is melancholic

and lyrical, a fantastic and inventive work. Sadly the only other disc that I'm aware of with Klebanov's
music is a 2 disc set on Angelok called "Ukraine Composer Series 1" and it features music of other
practically unknown composers as well. I wanted to buy it but Amazon has a seller asking $85.00
USD for it! -Enjoy!

Ukrainian composer Dmitri Lvovich Klebanov (1907–1987) is one of a long row of Soviet composers who have more or less disappeared completely from sight. He composed in most genres, including operas and symphonies.
Klebanov studied music academically as a pianist, violist, conductor, and composer, and became a professor of composition at the Kharkov Conservatory. In the late 1930s and early 1940s a couple of ballets, a violin concerto, and a symphony received major performances in Moscow and Kiev. Unfortunately, the first symphony "In Memoriam to the Martyrs of Baba Yar" (1945) fell afoul of Stalinist critics who found it anti-patriotic. Being accused of distortion of the historic truth about the Soviet people and of national narrow-mindedness it was exiled for a life in archives. Stalin made his infamous attack on Soviet artists. The Soviet Composers' Union adopted the unwritten rule that one composer would be selected to take the heat for all of them—Klebanov was it. Although Klebanov was spared exile to Siberia, or worse, he was relegated to an obscure existence and spent most of this period composing politically correct works of "socialist realism" with titles like Ode for the Party and "First of May" Symphony. Following thirty years in de facto exile, Klebanov thawed out with the rest of the USSR in the 1980s.
In 1983 Mela Tenenbaum (violinist/violist) was in Kharkov, Ukraine, to play a viola concerto written for her by a pupil of Klebanov, whom she met after the concert. Klebanov suggested Ms. Tenenbaum perform his own Violin Concerto, and after the success of that venture the following season, he wrote a viola concerto expressly for her. This work had a positive reception in several Russian cities and Klebanov found his long-stifled creative energies reviving. Another new work followed, Japanese Silhouettes for soprano, viola d'amore and instrumental ensemble, based on haiku texts translated into Russian. This work was recorded for Radio Kiev with soprano Natalia Kraftzova, and a "rehabilitation" of Klebanov seemed imminent. But the composer died in 1987, just short of his 80th birthday, and soon artistic chaos engulfed the disintegrating Soviet Union. His music disappeared and was thought to have been lost in a fire and flood which destroyed the Musical Foundation building where his scores were kept.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Vaughan Williams-The Solent (Two world premieres)

Fantastic disc on Albion records features 2 world premiere recordings and other works that RVW fans
are surely already fond of like I am. Enjoy!

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS was just thirty when he composed The Solent in 1902 and eighty when he completed the Prelude on an Old Carol Tune in 1952. Over this astonishing period, a time of two World Wars and unprecedented social, economic and political change, Vaughan Williams' music remained broadly consistent. Of course, he grew in confidence and technical accomplishment and both folk song and the period of study with Ravel in early 1908 added colour and a fresh texture to his music. What was remarkable, however, was the consistency of style – from the visionary melody that opens The Solent to the richly harmonized setting of the carol On Christmas Night the Joy-Bells Ring of 1952 – the music is recognizably Vaughan Williams.
Over this fifty years, another feature remains constant and that is Vaughan Williams' preoccupation with life as a spiritual and personal journey, one fraught with danger and often ending in tragedy, but showing noble and courageous human endeavour in the face of fate and adversity as we progress towards 'the Unknown Region'. This focus, sometimes using the sea as a metaphor for the perils of the journey, is shown in his lifelong obsession with Bunyan's Christian as he journeys toward the Celestial City in The Pilgrim's Progress. Walt Whitman, Shakespeare and Thomas Hardy added depth to this search; the poignant fate of Tess moved Vaughan Williams deeply throughout his long life. So too did the tragic endeavour of Captain Scott's expedition to the Antarctic. That The Solent is prefaced with a quote from a Philip Marston poem adds another layer – Marston's life was an uplifting example of remarkable achievement against a background of a succession of personal tragedies.
The span of music presented here demonstrates two other elements of Vaughan Williams' character. The first is his depth of literary understanding, including, on this CD alone, settings or references to Philip Marston, Matthew Arnold, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jeremy Taylor, Dr Isaac Watts, Richard Crashaw, Robert Bridges and Thomas Hardy. The second element was his knowledge and love of the English countryside. He knew the New Forest well and often took holidays in the Salisbury area, near to Harnham Down and The Solent. The Three Impressions for Orchestra recorded here for the first time were followed by In the Fen Country (1904) and three Norfolk Rhapsodies (1906 – only two survive). His knowledge of the English landscape was deepened by his folk-song collecting, in every corner of the country, from 1904. All this was, of course, part of Vaughan Williams' stated desire to create and sustain a 'true school of English music', an aim he enthusiastically shared with Gustav Holst whose own Cotswold Symphony had been written in March, 1902.

A tremendously rewarding and consistently absorbing compendium, this, flawlessly performed under Paul Daniel's idiomatic direction, and beautifully engineered to boot. A mandatory acquisition for all RVW acolytes. -Gramophone November 2013-

Boris Tischenko & Aliosh Nikolaev-Piano Works

This Albany disc from 1993 features Tischenko's Sonata No. 7 for Piano with Bells, Op. 85 as well
as two works by Aliosh Nikolaev. It is the Tischenko sonata that is full of mystery and suspended beauty that I'm impressed with. Enjoy

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Boris Tischenko-Violin Concerto, Cello Concerto, Suzdal

Northern Flowers offers up this lil gem of a disc of works by Boris Tishchenko. A very interesting and refreshingly unorthodox composer Imo. The Naxos world premiere recording of his Symphony No. 7 is especially fine, I will be adding it soon. Enjoy!

Boris Ivanovich Tischenko  (March 23, 1939 – December 9, 2010) was a Russian and Soviet composer and pianist.
He is often considered the direct heir to the legacy of Shostakovich, Tishchenko was born in Leningrad. He studied at the Leningrad Musical College from 1954 to 1957. There he learnt composition under Galina Ustvolskaya and piano under Mikhelis. Then from 1957 to 1963 he studied composition with Vadim Salmanov, Victor Voloshinov and Orest Evlakhov, and piano with L. Logovinski at the Leningrad Conservatory. He took a postgraduate course with the composer Dmitri Shostakovich from 1962 to 1965.
He taught at the Leningrad Conservatory from 1965, and became a professor there in 1986.
Tishchenko was an outstanding representative of the generation which appeared during the 1960s and which invigorated Russian musical life. His industriousness has rewarded him with a leading place in Russian music. As distinct from many of his colleagues, Tishchenko has remained in Russia and with a striking determination remains loyal to the principles which he once adopted, regardless of changes in political regimes and artistic trends.
With a list of some 130 works to his credit, Tishchenko is a prolific composer who has contributed to all the major genres. Folk and ethnic music have both played their part in his thinking, together with composers as diverse as Monteverdi and Mahler, in an idiom whose undogmatic approach to tonal thinking won him the approval of Shostakovich early in his career. This is particularly evident in the Third of his eleven symphonic works (1966), which the older composer singled out for the “richness of its emotions, its clarity of thought and its structural logic”, and the First Cello Concerto, written for Rostropovich in 1963 and re-orchestrated by Shostakovich for more conventional forces in 1969. Such an empathy reached its apogee in the Fourth and Fifth Symphonies, composed before and after Shostakovich’s death in 1975, where an avowedly public symphonism is pursued in impressively large-scale terms.

Tishchenko tried to use some experimental and modernist ideas like twelve-tone or aleatoric techniques, but was much more attached to the native traditions of his homeland. He demonstrated a kind of originality, scoring his Second Cello Concerto for 48 cellos, 12 double-basses and percussion (1969). Ten years later, however, he re-orchestrated it for a more practical combination.
He was honored by Shostakovich’s orchestration of his First Cello Concerto, and repaid his master by the orchestration, editing and transcription of a few scores by Shostakovich. His Requiem, to the forbidden poem by Anna Akhmatova, written in the period of political stagnation in 1966, was a courageous cultural gesture.
Tishchenko actively assisted in the secret delivery of the manuscript of Shostakovich’s memoirs to the West. Later, however, he raised his voice in dispute against the authenticity of Testimony published by Solomon Volkov in 1979. In March 2006 he was announced as the first laureate of the ‘Epokha Shostakovicha’ prize instituted for the centennial of Shostakovich’s birth. He died in Saint Petersburg.