Emura’s Violin Concerto No.2 "L’Inextérieur"
is the seventh piece of a series of nine works sharing the same subtitle,
invented by the composer and suggested to him when observing the absence
of boundaries between "indoors" and "outdoors" in
wildly expanding cities such as Tokyo. A closer acquaintance with this
beautifully atmospheric work does not shed any more light on the implied
meaning of the word. The piece rather suggests to me some urban landscape
at night, when darkness is momentarily torn apart by sudden brutal flashes
of light, interrupting the walker’s reverie. This impressionistic tone
poem, sometimes redolent of Dutilleux (and none the worse for that),
is by far the finest piece in this collection.
Tsippi Fleischer’s music already features in several
other VMM releases, including a whole CD of her chamber music. Her Third
Symphony is a quite recent work and apparently a deeply personal statement;
but I am sorry to report that it left me unmoved. I found the piece
rambling, with little thematic coherence, giving the impression of a
mosaic made of unconnected fragments. Though well written and expertly
scored, it is, for this writer at least, a minor disappointment.
Constantinides’ Millenium Festival Overture
is frankly an occasional piece of the kind that, say, Malcolm Arnold
could have written. Some of the music actually brings Arnold to mind.
This short, outdoor overture, however, lacks memorable, catchy tunes.
Entertaining, but quickly forgotten.
So is Don Walker’s Topolobampo (actually
the third movement of his Fifth Symphony). This brilliantly scored postcard
from Mexico is quite attractive, though – again – this is the sort of
thing that Revueltas did much better.
Murphy’s Piano Concerto No.1 (and actually
his first so far) is more ambitious, though on the whole more traditionally
laid-out, his models being, as far as I can judge, Prokofiev, Bartok
and even Bax (in the impressive slow movement). There are many fine
instrumental and orchestral touches, such as the dialogue between piano
and cello in the first movement, the whole of the slow movement and
the catchy folk-like tune in the final Rondo. Murphy’s Dialects
for Uilleann pipes and orchestra (available on VMM 3040) is a finer
work and probably one of his finest so far, but his First Piano Concerto
is well worth having.
This is a typical VMM release with unfamiliar, though
often well made, music by largely unknown composers, all having something
to say and all more or less successful in achieving full expression.
Performances and recordings are quite good. This one is certainly well
worth having for Emura’s violin concerto and Murphy’s piano concerto.