Pianist Minh and a rich hour of Glinka’s piano music, revealing a lyricist fond of variation form. GLINKA: Variations in e on Alyabyev’s Romance “The Nightingale”; Nocturne in E-flat Major; Variations in a on the Russian song “Down in the Deep Valley”; Nocturne in f, “Le Separation”; A Greeting to My Homeland – Suite; Variations […]
My second exposure to this composer, and it is a very satisfying experience.
B01BIEK8JO OLA GJEILO: Ubi caritas; The Spheres; The Ground; Sanctus: London; The Crossing; Northern Lights; The Lake Isle; Serenity; Tundra; Reflections; Sacred Heart – Ola Gjeilo, p./ Voces 8/ Tenebrae/ Chamber Orch. of London/ Thomas Gould, Ben Hancox, Hannah Dawson & Ciaran McCabe, violins/ Jon Thorne & Simone van der Giessen, violas/ Matthew Sharp, cello/ Kristian Kvalvaag, guitar – Decca B0024646, 47:34 [Distr. by Universal] ****:
Northern Lights is a spectacular SACD on Chandos released a few years ago. It has a couple of the selections here. The forces on this stereo CD (not an SACD) are equally adept at Gjeilo’s idiom, and the sound on this disc is very special indeed, but it cannot compare to the sonic splendor of the Chandos. In that 2012 review I said that “It is in effect a religious album though you would not know it by Chandos’s clever masking of that fact”, and that the composer creates “basically diatonic and melody-driven compositions, making for a quaint and sometimes ingenious combination of Slavic feeling set in the mode of someone like Daniel Pinkham.”
Listening to this disc, I hear little to change my mind.
Gjeilo is no Eric Whitacre—his harmonies refuse the tense, ecstatic, almost overbearing dissonances that fall as easily as consonances on the ear. He is more melody-centered (though not in a traditional sense) and his harmony is calmer and far more pointed. The pieces on this disc use a wide variety of instrumental accompaniment, which differs from the Chandos disc, though I must admit that I don’t hear in the instruments anything that is particularly idiomatic to those instruments. In other words, you could swap out one for another and still come away with the same effect, albeit a slightly different coloring, even though we do have some instrument-only pieces in this collection.
Whichever way you look at it, the music is exceptionally engaging and non-threatening while at the same time alluring and enticing in a very subtle manner. If your blood pressure is high, this might be the ticket. The performers are top-notch, and only the short playing time irritates me, especially as Chandos saw fit to give us an hour, and on as SACD. Nicely done, and well worth considering.
DVORAK: Piano Concerto in g minor; SCHUMANN: Piano Concerto – Stephen Hough, p./ City of Birmingham Orch./ Andris Nelsons – Hyperion
The unusual combination of Schumann and Dvorak concertos certifies Stephen Hough’s mastery in music of the Romantic temperament. DVORAK: Piano Concerto in g minor, Op. 33; SCHUMANN: Piano Concerto in a minor, Op. 54 – Stephen Hough, p./ City of Birmingham Orch./ Andris Nelsons – Hyperion CDA68099, 74:11 (4/1/16) [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] ****: My […]
SCRIABIN: Piano Sonata No. 5; Piano Sonata No. 4 in F-sharp Major; Poeme in F-sharp Major; Vers la flamme: poeme; JANACEK: On the Overgrown Path, Book I; Piano Sonata 1 “From the Street” – Stephen Hough, p. – Hyperion
Stephen Hough explores the keyboard world of two exotics, Scriabin and Janacek.
PROKOKIEV: Violin Concerto No. 2 in g minor; Sonata for 2 Violins in C Major; Solo Violin Sonata in D Major – Viktoria Mullova, v./ Tedi Papavrami, v. /Frankfurt Radio Sym. Orch./ Paavo Jarvi – Onyx
Live performances of Mullova’s Prokofiev violin repertory convince us of her pungent authority.
BORODIN: Symphony No. 2 in b; Symphony No. 3 in a; Prince Igor Overture – L’Orch. de la Suisse Romande/ Ernest Ansermet – ORG 45 rpm vinyl (2)
A terrific symphony and performance in the best vinyl two-channel sonics.
“Spirit, Strength, & Sorrow” = Setting of the Stabat Mater by ALISSA FIRSOVA, TONU KORVITS, CLAUDIO CASCIOLINI, MATTHEW MARTIN, DOMENICO SCARLATTI – The Sixteen/ Harry Christophers – Coro
Christophers’s Coro goes from strength to strength in this absorbing collection.
Pianist Lada Valesova finds a musical thread in the form of the dumka that connects the souls of Slavic composers.
Another fantastic effort at a work that can’t seem to get enough of them.
“LEOS JANACEK: The Piano” = On an Overgrown Path, Books I – II; Moravian Dances; Zdenka Variations; Piano Sonata 1.X.1905; In the Mists; Miniatures; Album for Kamilu Stoesslovou; Moravian Folksongs – Cathy Krier, p. – Cavi Music (2 CDs)
A survey of the piano music of Leos Janacek by Cathy Krier reminds us of the often visceral, original imagination of this composer’s treatment of his Moravian roots.
BRAHMS: Handel Variations; Variations on an Original Theme; DVORAK: Theme with Variations – Todd Crow, p. – MSR Classics
Volume 2 of Crow’s BBC outing proves an exceptional foray into the music of Brahms and Dvorak.
“Panagia – Orthodox Hymns to the Mother of God” – Archangel Voices/ Vladimir Morosan – Archangel Voices
Yet another recording from the superb Archangel Voices, pioneers in the presentation of Orthodox Chant in English.
YEVSTIGNEY FOMIN: Orfeo ed Euridice – Alexey Ivashchenko (Orfeo)/ Maria Shorstovo (Euridice)/ Pratum Integrum Orch./ Horn Orch. of Russia/ Pavel Serbin – Caro Mitis
Who knew this kind of music was being created in Baroque Russia? But could we not have had a little more of it?
Sviatoslav Richter Archives Vol. 20 = JANACEK: Concertino for Piano; HINDEMITH: Sonata for Viola and Piano; Piano Sonata No. 2; Sonata for Bassoon and Piano; Sonata for Trumpet and Piano – Doremi
Doremi presents a series of live performances from Budapest and Moscow, 1978-1985.
LEOS JANACEK: Sinfonietta for Orchestra; Taras Bulba (Rhapsody for Orchestra); Suite from the Opera “The Cunning Vixen” (arr. Jilek) – Bamberger Symphony/Jonathan Nott – Tudor
A fine collection of the very distinctive orchestral music of Janacek.
LEOS JANACEK: Piano Works Vol. 1 = Sonata 1.X.1905; On an overgrown path I & II; Reminiscence; In the Mist – Slavka Pechocova, piano – Praga Digitals
Janacek’s works exhibit much variety within his individual style, so even hearing the entire disc at one sitting does not seem repetitive.