Aubert Lemeland, born in Normandy in 1932, has composed extensively for voice, chamber ensemble and symphony orchestra. His music is now part of the fabric of the current European concert scene.
The Symphony No. 8 In Memoriam is in one movement. Composed in 1994, and dedicated to victims of WW2. Lemeland aknowledges debts to Barber and Copland. Indeed, the orchestration and ambience of this symphony is like the Barber No. 1 without Barber’s extensive use of melody. Lemeland’s melodic fragments are uttered by plangent woodwinds amidst strng and percussion background,later to be taken up in full measure by the string section. The overall tone of the symphony is elegiac, not unlike the Barber Adagio.
The 9th Symphony was completed in 1997. For Lemeland, “It is the most tonal of my symphonies.” The first movement “Piaccevole” (Pleasing) is propulsive. One encounters robust snatches of melody, polytonality, abundant energy.The Largo is lyrical, sunny in disposition. A vivace finale is good humored- almost Mendelssohnian. This Symphony is c. emeland20 minutes of intense and vibrant music.
The selection In ricordi Arturo Toscanini for string orchestra is a five minute tribute to the great Italian Maestro. The piece is inspired by the composer’s visit to Milan, specifically the Largo Toscanini Square, in which is a plaque commemorating the conductor. This is worshipful music.
Five Battle Pieces refer to an American Civil War collection of poems by Herman Melville. Lemeland, however, uses texts written by American soldiers from 1942-45. Scored for string orchestra and piano, ideas derived from Ives populate the first of these pieces. Contemplative, ranging from agitation to longing, these are fine hewn anti-war statements.
In 1999 Marc Tardue was named Music Director of the Orquestra Nacional do Porto, Portugal, and in 2000 oversaw its expansion from classical size to full symphony orchestra. The performance of these Lemeland selections is totally committed, the playing generally fine, but for some occasional roughness in the strings. The hall in Porto seems cavernous. Reverberation is excessive, at times obscuring instrumental lines.
Acoustics notwithstanding, these orchestral selections by Aubert Lemeland represent an important, vital, dynamic composer…Recommended.
– Ronald Legum