Account Log In
   
ClassicsOnline - Your Classical Music Source Highly Reviewed Newsletter
Sunday, April 22, 2012

Highlighting the latest highly reviewed recordings: Available at ClassicsOnline

RAUTAVAARA, E.: Modificata / Incantations / Towards the Horizon (Storgards)

RAUTAVAARA, E.: Modificata / Incantations / Towards the Horizon (Storgards)
Ondine: ODE1178-2
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
-- By Guy Rickards, Gramophone

Gramophone – Recording of the Month

The evocative title reflects Rautavaara's belief (to quote Korhonen) 'that there is much in common between shamanism and composition: a shaman is a mediator between human beings and the hereafter, and a composer too…is more a mediator than a creator'. So one could regard each movement as a spell or incantation conjured between the listener and the otherworld. But whereas in Towards the Horizon there is a specifically personal viewpoint expressed (the composer's own), in Incantations it is more generalised and with more sense of dialogue. However one may interpret Rautavaara's title – which, by the way, was selected late in the composition process – the music possesses a powerfully elemental undertow. Colin Currie, for whom the concerto was written and who premiered it in London in 2009, reprises that scintillating performance in a barnstorming account caught splendidly in Ondine's superlative sound. John Storgårds and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra give exemplary support in the big-boned textures of both concertos but also shine on their own in Modificata.

This is an immensely noteworthy issue, not as a potential epitaph for Rautavaara the concerto-composer but for the quality of the music.

For the the full review, go to Gramophone.co.uk
 
CASTELLANOS, E.: Santa Cruz de Pacairigua / El rio de las siete estrellas / Avilena Suite (Venezuela Symphony, J. Wagner)

CASTELLANOS, E.: Santa Cruz de Pacairigua / El rio de las siete estrellas / Avilena Suite (Venezuela Symphony, J. Wagner)
Naxos / Latin American Classics: 8.572681
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
-- By Bob McQuiston, NPR Deceptive Cadence, Classical Lost and Found

Composer Evencio Castellanos helped develop a national sound for classical music in Venezuela. Except for two years of piano studies in New York City in the late 1940s, Venezuelan Evencio Castellanos was a homegrown musician. And based on this sampling of his symphonic output, he'd seem to be his country's leading twentieth century composer. Having the melodic flow of Heitor Villa-lobos, and the rhythmic urgency of Alberto Ginastera (two fellow South Americans), these brilliantly scored works are impressive.

The album begins with a pair of tone poems. The first, Santa Cruz de Pacairigua, from 1954, was occasioned by the construction of a church near Caracas. The boisterous percussion-laced beginning paints a festive portrait of a religious celebration. A winsome South American waltz follows, and the piece concludes in the same high spirits in which it began. The world of Ginastera's Panambi and Estancia is not far away.

El Rio de las Siete Estrellas (The River of the Seven Stars), written in 1946, takes inspiration... (read more)
 
VERDI, G.: Ballet Music from the Operas (Complete) (Bournemouth Symphony, Serebrier)

VERDI, G.: Ballet Music from the Operas (Complete) (Bournemouth Symphony, Serebrier)
Naxos: 8.572818-19
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
-- By David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

10/10 Artistic and Sound Quality

The only other serious competition in this repertoire, and it's not as complete as this release (the Aida items are missing), is an old Philips Duo mostly conducted by the late Antonio de Almeida. Those are good performances, but they don’t outclass these, either interpretively or sonically. You might say that it doesn't take much interpretive insight to conduct Italian ballet music, but ultimately the goal is always the same: to avoid boredom. This may be even harder in music whose purpose is largely decorative and expressively limited. It's to Serebrier’s (and Verdi's) credit that there isn't a bar here that fails to entertain, or that doesn't make an excellent case for believing that this music is of much higher quality than its reputation suggests.

The ballet from Aida is well known, of course, but that from Otello is a minor masterpiece in a strikingly similar vein.  "The Four Seasons" ballet from I vespri siciliani is Verdi's largest, lasting a solid half an hour, and it's wonderfully performed here. It has moments that you might mistake for Delibes or Tchaikovsky. Don Carlos is also fully mature Verdi, while the ballet in Macbeth is pretty well known as it's often included in modern... (read more)
 
NIELSEN, C.: Symphony No. 1 / SIBELIUS, J.: Symphony No. 7 (Copenhagen Philharmonic, Kamu)

NIELSEN, C.: Symphony No. 1 / SIBELIUS, J.: Symphony No. 7 (Copenhagen Philharmonic, Kamu)
Classico: CLASSCD115
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
-- By Victor Carr, ClassicsToday.com

10/10 Artistic and Sound Quality

Okko Kamu leads a refreshingly vibrant account of Nielsen's Symphony No. 1. The first movement surges with youthful vigor, aided by Kamu's light touch–crisp orchestral articulation and clear ensemble textures. The Andante second movement plays with a rare sense of direction–Kamu has a clear idea how this music should go, and the Copenhagen Philharmonic plays beautifully, especially in the strings in the rhapsodic central section. The scherzo moves along breezily, with nicely burnished brass in the trio. Nielsen's Finale, with its seemingly endless main theme, is a bit of a tough nut that seems to elude many conductors. Not so Kamu: his clear focus and bold impetus carry the music unerringly through to its imposing conclusion. A fine Nielsen First.

Kamu is better known for his Sibelius, and this Symphony No. 7 lives up to the conductor's reputation. Again the performance abounds with energy and freshness. Free from the heaviness imposed by some interpreters, the introduction carries a heightened... (read more)
Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter

Copyright © 2012 Naxos Digital Services Ltd. All rights reserved.