IVO ANTOGNINI – COME TO ME IN THE SILENCE OF THE NIGHT
CHOIR OF TRINITY COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE, STEPHEN LAYTON, Director
HYPERION CDA68425 65’54
Translucent, transcendent, ethereal – words to describe these excellent performances of a fine collection of contemporary spiritual choral music. All new to me, this is a superb CD. Settings of traditional liturgical Latin texts are interspersed with some English texts including Come to me by Christina Rosetti, Shelley’s Remembrance and Emily Dickinson’s Hope is the thing with feathers.
CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO – GREETING CARDS FOR GUITAR
ANDREA DE VITIS, guitar
NAXOS 8.574246 72’16
A total of 52 Greeting Cards were composed between 1954 and 1967 by the Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Here, in excellent performances by Andrea de Vitis, are the 21 written for solo guitar. Lovely music, each inspired by particular people known to the composer.
DIETER AMMANN – CORE-TURN-BOOST & UNBALANCED STABILITY
SIMONE ZGRAGGEN, violin
BASEL SINFONIETTA, BALDUR BRONNIMANN, conductor
NAXOS 8.551474 66’27
Intriguing titles for this inventive and original recent music. Much use is made of individual colour and contrasts of duration and rhythm in Unbalanced Instability – a concerto for violin and chamber orchestra, which opens the CD. The remaining three works, written over a number of years, together form a triptych. Throughout he works to transform and refine his starting points.
MESSIAEN – DES CANYONS AUX ETOILES
UTAH SYMPHONY & soloists, THIERRY FISCHER
HYPERION CDA68316 (2 CDs) 92’18
This release was a revelation to me. I thought I had heard most of the composer’s works. This 1970s commission celebrates the United States Bicentennial. Rooted in the canyons of the Utah landscape, Messiaen cleverly reminds his audience that in comparison to the natural world the nation is young, a newcomer, which should not forget its past or trivialise the place in which it has been formed. Inventive sound sources (wind machine and Messiaen’s own geophone) take their place alongside the more conventional instrumentation as the vast, seemingly barren landscape is infused with energy and interest. Appropriately and sensitively performed here by the region’s resident orchestra this is a really welcome production.
SONATAS FOR CELLO AND DUPLEX PIANO
DAVID STROMBERG, cello, FLORIAN UHLIG, duplex piano
OEHMS CLASSICS OC497 76’48
Lovely recordings of less familiar repertoire are presented here in an unusual format, with the use of the duplex piano. It was my unfamiliarity with the instrument (a double manual piano) that encouraged me to investigate this disk. Sonatas by Emanuel Moor, Ernst von Dohnanyi and Richard Strauss form an enjoyable programme. There are some interesting historical notes and a lovely photograph relating to the instrument but I have to say (as a pianist and organist) I do not yet understand the benefits and subtleties which it brings. Perhaps I need to search one out and try for myself…
RICHARD STRAUSS – COMPLETE MUSIC FOR WIND INSTRUMENTS
members of STAATSKAPELLE BERLIN, GREGOR WITT, conductor
CAPRICCIO C5497 (2CDs) 121’10
More Richard Strauss here in this comprehensive release which shows a range of different music for different combinations of wind. There are moments of lightness and drama here, the juxtaposition of which is highlighted for me in the 3rd movement of the Suite in B flat major for 13 wind instruments – light, playful flutes sit alongside the more demonstrative brass with its repeated downward motive which has a slightly sinister feel. Music that should be more widely heard.
DENIS PLANTE, bandoneon, STEPHANE TETREAULT, cello
ATMACLASSIQUE ACD2 2881
Who can resist a tango? Here we have a set of 6 tango suites by Denis Plante which form a lovely programme, beautifully played by Stephane Tetreault and the composer. The music is inspired by the cello suites of JS Bach and, as there, each movement is founded on a particular dance form. Fresh and enjoyable.