ClassicsOnline Home » FETLER, P.: Violin Concerto No. 2 / Capriccio / 3 Poems by Walt Whitman (Berofsky, Blaske, Ann Arbor Symphony, Lipsky) > Review List

FETLER, P.: Violin Concerto No. 2 / Capriccio / 3 Poems by Walt Whitman (Berofsky, Blaske, Ann Arbor Symphony, Lipsky)

Composer(s):Fetler, Paul
Period(s) Contemporary
Genre Classical Music
Category ConcertosOrchestral
Catalogue 8.559606
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
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This recording, the first devoted entirely to the music of Paul Fetler, features Ann Arbor poet and attorney Thomas H. Blaske as narrator in the evocative Three Poems by Walt Whitman, written to commemorate the American Bicentennial in 1976. An elegant solo violin quasi-cadenza opens the remarkable third movement, after which the narrator intones the haunting line, “Ah, from a little child, thou knowest, Soul, how to me all sounds became music…” The phrase is heard again, reflected near the close and carried as if by a distant music box, simulated by a toy piano. A labor of love, Fetler’s Violin Concerto No. 2 mixes spry energy and elegant orchestration with expressively flowing melody into an irresistible tour de force,



Review By Robert R. Reilly,,January 2011

It is for allowing us to hear the “non-classic” American composers, however, that we should be particularly grateful to Naxos. Some of these are older folks like Paul Fetler (b. 1920), who were simply overlooked in the din caused by the army of noise. The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, under Arie Lipsky, gives Fetler the first recording dedicated solely to his music (Naxos 8.559606). From what I hear on this disc, it is way overdue. The CD begins with Three Poems by Walt Whitman. I abhor music with narration, which is what this is, but the quality of Fetler’s settings is so brilliant that I endured Thomas Blaske’s amateur readings. I was enraptured by the evocative nocturnal tone poem Fetler was developing in the first poem for nearly three minutes

The Capriccio that follows is a delightful piece full of, in Fetler’s words, “whimsy and playfulness.” It reminds me of Prokofiev in his lighter vein. The major work on this CD is the Violin Concerto No. 2, with violinist Aaron Berofsky. This full-throated, highly lyrical music, composed in 1980, is directly in the lineage of Barber’s great romantic Violin Concerto. This may be old-fashioned music, but it is so enchanting that it vindicates Fetler’s statement that “what was modern is modern no more. All the issues vanish, only expression remains.” The Ann Arbor performances were recorded live, with completely silent audiences who obviously were as taken with this music as you will be. Buy this CD so that Naxos gives us more of Fetler’s music.



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