by | Mar 17, 2011 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

Weiss Family Woodwinds, Then and Now = VIVALDI: Sonata in g; MESSIAEN: Le Merle Noir; EUGENE BOURDEAU: Premier Solo; HINDEMITH: Oboe Sonata; TOMAS SVOBODA: Trio for Flute, Oboe, and Bassoon; CAROL WORTHEY: Sandcastles – Dawn Weiss, flute/ David Weiss, oboe/ Abraham Weiss, bassoon/ Zita Carno, piano – Crystal 354, 55:18 ***1/2:
“Then and now” refers, I believe to the fact that this album is a compendium of recordings from 1978 (Vivaldi, Messiaen, Bourdeau, Hindemith) and 2010 (Svoboda, Worthey), though I can’t find specific recording dates per piece. With that assumption, it is amazing how close they all are in sound quality—one would be hard pressed to tell the difference.
The 1978 recordings are superlative in every way—the competition is strongest in the Hindemith, but David Weiss acquits himself admirably, turning in a reading that is fully persuasive as just about any on the market. The Messiaen and Bourdeau are short and sweet tidbits if you will, but very nicely played and enjoyable. Vivaldi fares well also, and even for 1978 this is a delightfully presented piece that few of the most severe period instrument critics could find fault with.
The new pieces are also quite nice, especially the work by Svoboda. This Czech-American composer (b. 1939) has enjoyed no little success over his long career, and his music is quite tonal and engaging, though also sorrowful, as the basis of its commission by flutist Dawn Weiss was the commemoration of the death of her grandmother. It is a fine piece adding to the already extensive catalog of the composer.
Carol Worthey’s Sandcastles is a programmatic family piece about the building of a sandcastle on the beach—and the Weiss family grew up near the ocean—where the castle is built, is destroyed by waves, and yet the family still remains intact and strong. At only six and one-half minutes this might seem a theme that is too long for the music, but she conveys her sentiments in fine fashion.
All in all this is a worthy partial old release with some new wine thrown in, and I found it quite enjoyable.
— Steven Ritter

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