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Artur KAPP (1878-1952)
Don Carlos – dramatic overture after Friedrich Schiller
Eugen KAPP (1908-1996)
Kalevipoeg – ballet suite (1947) [21:48]
Villem KAPP (1913-1964)
Symphony No. 2 in C minor (1955) [30:21]
rec. Studio 7, BBC Broadcasting House, Manchester, 8 July 2005
(Carlos, Kalevipoeg); 5-6 March 2001 (Symphony).
Premiere recording of Villem Kapp’s Symphony No. 2, first issued
on BBC Music Magazine CD
CHANDOS CHAN10441 [63:34]
programme on this CD was played at a concert of the Estonian
State Philharmonic Orchestra on 16 June 2007, though as you
can see by the recording dates above, this CD is not a record
of that concert. It celebrates a dynastic family at the heart
of creative musical life in
the son of a sacristan, went to study music at St Petersburg
Conservatoire from which he graduated as organist in 1898 and
as composer in 1900. After teaching duties in Astrakhan he
returned to Estonia in 1920. is works include one hundred songs,
five symphonies, five concertos and the grand oratorio Hiob (Job)
which was recorded by Järvi on Eres.
Carlos overture is given a white hot performance by Järvi.
This is no time-serving run-through. The music is a stormy
and torridly clamorous blend of Schumann’s Fourth Symphony
and Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony. It’s extremely effective
and at least as good as the Beethoven Egmont or Schumann’s Julius
Artur’s overture is late-nineteenth century romantic Eugen’s Kalevipoeg suite
is from another world – the Estonian equivalent of the outdoor
Moeran and Holst. The music is engagingly folksy, airily orchestrated,
open-textured and very accessible. The Shepherds’ Dance is
lightly coloured and bright-eyed. Some of this is redolent
of Madetoja’s 1915 Second Symphony and Janis Ivanovs’ superb
Violin Concerto. Occasionally I was reminded of Malcolm Arnold English
Dances with which Kalevipoeg is roughly contemporary.
Time for the complete ballet, please. Just as for years we
lived with suites of Madetoja’s Okon Fuoko and Tubin’s Kratt and
then came Ondine’s unabridged versions so the same principle
should be applied to Kalevipoeg.
Kapp was Artur’s nephew. His Second Symphony is dedicated to
Roman Matsov who conducted its premiere in Moscow in 1956.
It is tuneful and grand with a ‘weakness’ for storming Tchaikovskian
heroism. It is without the sometimes blaringly suffocating
density of the first symphonies by Boris Tchaikovsky or Georgi
Sviridov. Dapper and touching wind writing out of the Borodin-Balakirev
tradition together with bass-deep pizzicati are some of the
work’s other beguiling DNA signatures. Let’s now hear the First
Symphony from 1947.
audio side and documentation by David Fanning is well up to
Chandos’s very best standards. I only wish that Mr Fanning
had trialled some other works by each of these composers as
an incitement to Chandos and others to continue the exploration.
works from the Kapp dynasty. Each one is attractive and accessible
without being bland, hectoring or inane. If you already have
a weakness for late-romantic overtures then don’t miss this Don
Carlos. The other two works have their often unknowing
counterparts in folk-impressionistic music by Moeran, Arnold,
Sibelius and Prokofiev. Much more please.
Gerard Hoffnung CDs
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