LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL Archives

CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL@COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL  May 2005

CLASSICAL May 2005

Subject:

Tenenbaum, Sibelius, Ghedini

From:

Steve Schwartz <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 30 May 2005 10:20:35 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (92 lines)

      Modern Music for Strings

*  Sibelius: 6 Humoresques*
*  Ghedini:
  - Violin Concerto "Il Belprato"
  - Musica da Concerto for Viola, Viola d' Amore, & String Orchestra

Mela Tenenbaum (violin, viola, viola d' amore), Czech Philharmonic Chamber
Orchestra,* Pro Musica Prague/Richard Kapp
ESSAY CD-1075 Total time: 58:11

Summary for the Busy Executive: Three finds.

Sibelius catches flak for his long decline into alcoholism and creative
silence, during which he tried and failed to complete what would have
been his eighth symphony.  He also takes heat for the plethora of short
works in his catalogue, as if his symphonic cycle, string quartet, and
violin concerto weren't enough to justify his stature.  However, many
critics don't recognize that an artist needs to eat.  Sibelius wrote a
lot just to support his family.  The humoresques are late examples of
this, written, I believe, before the Finnish government granted the
composer a lifetime stipend.  But as Dr. Johnson remarked, "Only a fool
never wrote for money," and commercial success doesn't preclude artistic
success.  These six miniatures, averaging a little over three minutes
apiece, make an effect that belies their length.  One senses not only
a great miniaturist, like Grieg, but a great symphonic mind (something
very few ever accused Grieg of) working in little.  The effect is
heightened when you hear all six humoresques together.  Here and there
one catches little hints of the violin concerto, and one soon realizes
that, notwithstanding his architectural smarts, Sibelius's art, like
Elgar's, has this kind of miniature at its heart.

Ghedini, on the other hand, is practically off the radar.  He's better
known as Berio's teacher than for his own music.  I'd heard only one
other piece, for wind quintet, before these two string concerti.  On the
basis of all three works, I'd call him a Stravinsky-Hindemith neoclassicist,
although like most of his tribe, he doesn't ape his models.  He has
something of his own to say.  The composer officially lays out his violin
concerto "Il Belprato" in five short movements, and like the Sibelius,
each one averages out to between three and four minutes.  However, in
performance, it really comes down to three movements.  In aesthetic,
they remind me a lot of Vivaldi's violin concerti.  That is, they don't
scale heights or plumb depths, but they do exhibit an exceptional elegance
and take on the energy of dance.  The first movement, the longest, is
one of those chattering Vivaldi allegros.  What I call the middle movement
and Ghedini formally splits into three is a gavotte, "with interruptions."
That is, the gavotte switches to a vivace, which dissolves into a brief,
though affecting, adagio.  The finale blows off steam.  The music speaks
directly and without inflation.

The Musica da Concerto, in one large movement, calls for a viola soloist
to switch to viola d' amore about halfway through.  This is harder than
it sounds, since one often tunes (and fingers) a viola and viola d' amore
differently (the viola d' amore has three more playable strings).  For
one thing, the viola d' amore has no standard tuning.  The standard viola
tuning is c g d' a', while the most common tuning nowadays for viola d'
amore is a D-major chord: a d a d' f#' a' d".  In addition, the instrument
has seven more strings, not played, but which supposedly vibrate
sympathetically.  From a recording, I have seldom heard this effect,
except as a nasty little buzz, even with earphones.  As for the work
itself, in general, it eschews the straightahead neoclassicism of "Il
Belprato" for greater psychological penetration.  The phrases are longer,
twistier and more searching - more "Romantic," if you will.  Even the
volatile sections don't have a dance symmetry, often because they change
character too quickly to establish one.  The concerto consists of a
series of builds and fallbacks.  Time after time, Ghedini increases the
energy only to let out the steam, usually with a soloist's recitative.
The work sounds all over the place, as if even the composer doesn't know
where we will end up, but this is illusory.  Ghedini writes very tightly,
even more so than in the violin concerto.  However, the basic material
belongs to an altogether higher level of complexity.  This takes at least
a couple of hearings to begin to hear the transformations.  As in the
concerto, Ghedini confines the accompaniment to strings only, but what
a wealth of color and texture he comes up with!  The viola d' amore, a
wonderful instrument for playing chords, adds to the richness and power
of the sound.

I've been a fan of Mela Tenenbaum's for many years - as far as I'm
concerned, a musican of formidable intelligence and fire.  She's always
worth listening to - whether in violin monuments like the Beethoven
concerto or the Bach solo violin music, modern music off the beaten track
(like Ghedini and Klebanov), or even a Kreislerian encore.  Kapp has
served her as a very sympathetic accompanist.  It's as true of this CD
as of all their others.  The Ghedini tracks come from live performances.
They haven't been pristinely edited.  You do hear a little audience
stirring and rustling, and there's a brief moment in the Ghedini that I
can best describe as "scrambling," as orchestra and soloist try to
co-ordinate their rhythmic feet.  However, that shouldn't put you off,
especially since Ghedini is a composer more people should know, and the
Sibelius is just downright beautiful.

Steve Schwartz

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
July 1997

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager