Music to Drive Away Loiterers [TrackList follows] – Gil Shaham, violin/orchestras & var. pianists – Canary Classics CC13, [Distr. by Naxos] (4/1/14) ****:
Love – Innocence Passion Obsession [TrackList follows] = Lynn Kuo, violin/ Marianna Humetska, piano – self [www.lynnkuo.com], 60:37 (4/23/14) ****:
The Shaham CD is making use of the news item about stores driving away bothersome teens who were hanging out near them by playing classical music thru their outdoor speakers. It’s become a ploy around the world, banking on the sound of the classics being apparently so repellent to teens that it sends them scurrying away like frightened mice. Shaham himself says: “When I heard that classical music was being used to drive loiterers away, I knew I had finally found my calling. I hope people enjoy this album…or not. Whatever.” Had to ask for that one to review just for the title. But it’s a delightful collection of 15 short works for violin and orchestra (five of them) and violin and piano. And seeing the sheet music would probably scare off even most violinists. (Altho I would have chosen some nice Elliot Carter or Roger Sessions to drive away loiterers.)
It opens with the intro to Bizet’s Carmen Fantasy and has some glorious tracks, such as the “Scherzo” from Mendelssohn’s Octet (which makes me want to hear the whole thing with Shaham and those players), the “March” from Prokofiev’s Love for Three Oranges, and a theme from John William’s score to Schindler’s List. The orchestral selections feature various Spanish and Australian orchestras, and his sister Orli is the piano accompanist on most of the violin-piano tracks.
TrackList: Bizet (arr. Sarasate): Introduction from Carmen Fantasy, Op. 25; Fauré: Sicilienne Op.78; Fileuse Op. 80. No. 2 from Pelléas et Mélisande; Mendelssohn: Octet in E-flat, Op. 20: iii. Scherzo; Mozart: Sonata in E-flat, K. 302: ii Rondeau; Prokofiev (trans. Heifetz): March from Love for Three Oranges; Prokofiev: Andante from Five Melodies, Op. 35; Chen/He: Theme from Butterfly Lovers Concerto; Sarasate: Navarra for 2 violins, Op. 33; Edwards: Chorale from Maninyas; Sibelius: 3rd movement from Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47; Williams: “Remembrances” from Schindler’s List; Bloch: “Nigun” from Baal Shem; Dorman: Scherzo from Nigunim (Violin Sonata No. 3); and Sarasate: Zapateado Op.23 No. 2.
The CD by violinist Lynn Kuo opens with a longer complete Sonata for violin and piano, the one in A Major by Franck. Then it lightens up with a Milonga by Piazzolla, a Fantasy by Pepa, an improvisation by Nono Rota, and closes with a wonderful 14 1/2-minute Concert Fantasy on a music from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Pepa is a Canadian composer, and this CD was recorded in Toronto and thus promotes the whole music from Canada thing.
The idea of the two performers is to take the listener on a musical exploration of love, from the sparks of passion to the throes of jealousy and heartbreak. Interesting: for the liner notes to the CD you have to go their web site. Thanksalot. If you don’t already have a good recording of the lovely Franck Sonata, this CD is a good bet. Violinist Kuo, like several others, favors strapless outfits.
TrackList:César Franck Sonata in A major I. Allegretto ben moderato II. Allegro III. Recitativo – Fantasia IV. Allegretto poco mosso Astor Piazzolla Milonga en re Michael Pepa Fantaisie bohémienne Nino Rota Improviso en re minore Igor Frolov Concert Fantasy on Themes from Gershwin’s ‘Porgy and Bess’, Op. 19