Stockholm Syndrome Ensemble – “A Moveable Feast” – Works by VAUGHAN WILLIAMS, RAVEL, FALLA – Simon Crawford-Phillips (p.), Malin Broman (violin and viola), Fredrik Paulsson (violin and viola), Malin William-Olsson (violin and viola), Johannes Rostamo (cello), Rick Stotijn (double bass). Channel Classics CD 36916, TT: 58:00 (4/1/16) [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] ***1/2:
An interesting combination of three composers residing in Paris at the same time.
This latest disc from Sweden’s Stockholm Syndrome Ensemble is a well- played and well-recorded CD with music by Vaughan Williams, de Falla and Ravel. It’s a somewhat eclectic mix, but actually all the composers represented were alive during roughly the same period. Is there more to this grouping?
Yes, according to the group. The music has a very specific location and time at its heart: Paris in 1907. The Englishman Ralph Vaughan-Williams and Spaniard Manuel de Falla both came to study there and both were accepted into Maurice Ravel’s close circle of friends (Vaughan-Williams was Ravel’s student). This program is built around the thought that these three very different artists were all in Paris at the same time discussing music and inspiring one another.
The liner notes included with the disc go into great and interesting detail about the music being performed, and make a good case for the combination. It’s a good read, and illuminating. I don’t usually even mention liner notes in a review, but these are noteworthy. The performances are excellent, and it’s nice to hear music by each composer combined in this unique way.
In terms of the recording, it’s a good one, but I’m surprised Channel Classics provided the CD version for review rather than a SACD higher resolution format. It’s still excellent, with natural string sounds, a realistic spread of the soloists between the front speakers, and good dynamics.
1. Quintet for Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass in C minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams
2. Frontispice for 2 Pianos 5 hands by Maurice Ravel
3. Le tombeau de Couperin by Maurice Ravel
4. El Amor Brujo (version for piano sextet): Pantomime and Ritual Fire Dance by Manuel de Falla