“Triple Doubles” = RICHARD DANIELPOUR: A Child’s Reliquary; DAVID LUDWIG: Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orch.; DARON ARIC HAGEN: Masquerade – Jamie Laredo, v./Sharon Robinson, cello/Vermont Sym. Orch./Sarah Hicks & Troy Peters, conductors – Bridge

by | Apr 21, 2012 | Classical CD Reviews

“Triple Doubles” = RICHARD DANIELPOUR: A Child’s Reliquary; DAVID LUDWIG: Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra; DARON ARIC HAGEN: Masquerade – Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra – Jamie Laredo, violin/Sharon Robinson, cello/Vermont Sym. Orch./Sarah Hicks & Troy Peters, conductors – Bridge 9354, 78:19 [Distr. by Albany] ****:
Please excuse the basketball cliché analogy. These are all great pieces and welcome additions to what is already a rewarding genre. Certainly there are plenty of concertos for violin, cello and orchestra that are much beloved, with that by Brahms being the behemoth to which many are compared. There have been some very solid additions to the repertoire by modern composers of note; for example, the excellent pieces by Ned Rorem, Ellen Zwilich and Philip Glass. The new works heard here, presented in excellent performances and very fine recordings, are wonderful surprises.
Richard Danielpour is probably the most known name in this collection, with an amazing resume of work that includes symphonies and opera. The concerto “A Child’s Reliquary” is a beautiful and captivating work but one that was inspired by a tragic occurrence. The sudden drowning death of the young son of Carl St.Clair, the esteemed conductor of the Pacific Symphony, was the impetus for Danielpour to create this heartfelt and emotional work that – in the composer’s words – is about the death of innocence. The outer movements are intended as reflections on the public and private aspects of mourning, while the center movement is evocative of more pleasant child-like memories and feelings. This work captures the attention from the opening and holds it to the restful end. Originally a trio for Laredo, Robinson and Joseph Kalichstein, Danielpour orchestrated the work for premiere by the Pacific Symphony in 2006. (How moving that must have been.)
David Ludwig is a new name for me. A graduate of Oberlin, Juilliard and Curtis – where he now serves on the composition faculty – Ludwig is also the New Music Advisor for the Vermont Symphony. This three movement Concerto is a sparkling and evocative work whose movements are intended to evoke three aspects of the meaning of love. As Ludwig explains, a former professor would get his students to contemplate how any creative act could not be authentic without knowing what it is one is trying to express. Hence, the three movements are titled Eros, the sexual and physical love; Agape, the unrequited love and Philia; the love of mankind and society. The imagery is fascinating and a joy to listen to. The first movement is the longest and most languid with an undercurrent of urgency. The second takes its yearning, mournful sound from the Tristan and Iseult (the original spelling of the more familiar ‘Isolde’) legend wherein the two solo voices do not even play together until the end. The last movement, Philia, is a buoyant and eastern sounding celebration, filled with bell like timbres. The movements are separated by two short interludes that evoke the moods of the preceding movement. This is a wholly satisfying and fascinating work!
Daron Aric Hagen is Wisconsin native with hundreds of works to his credit and a very long performance resume. Hagen, who is also a Curtis Institute graduate, has served as a member of their composition faculty and has an extensive national reputation as a composer and educator. I was familiar with the opera Shining Brow as well as some of his chamber music. This concerto, titled Masquerade, takes its inspiration from the 15th century Italian art form the “Commedia dell’arte”. The solo violin and solo cello act as “characters” in an imagined traditional Italian love story from the same period. The tone and mood of the four movements works very effectively through a Burlesque, Elegy, “The Last of Pedrolino” and the closing Galoppade, with its joyous conclusion. Even without the background story and imagery, this is a very nice work that – to me – evoked Hindemith in places and holds the attention quite well.
The performances here are wonderful. Jaime Laredo – who is also the music director of the Vermont Symphony – and Sharon Robinson have a well-deserved national reputation through their many performances with the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and their resultant excellent recordings and concerts.  The Vermont Symphony is a wonderful ensemble showcased well in this recording and well deserving of a larger national reputation. Conductors Sarah Hicks and Troy Peters are gifted conductors who craft sensitive performances from the ensemble. Troy Peters has guest conducted many orchestras, including some rock musician collaborations, while Sarah Hicks is garnering a national reputation as a very talented interpreter of both symphonic and operatic material.
This is a totally engaging disc filled with great music and wonderful performances. I found each work here to be a very rewarding listening experience; yet each piece so different from the others. The Vermont Symphony is an excellent orchestra and the soloists are terrific. Highly recommended!
—Daniel Coombs

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