Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Len Mullenger:

TRITTICO: Vaclav NELHYBEL Trittico, Isaac ALBENIZ Feast Day in Seville, Norman Dello JOIO Variants On A Mediaeval Tune, EDVARD GRIEG Funeral March for Rikard Nordraak, Vittorio GIANNINI Symphony No. 3   Dallas Wind Symphony/Frederick Fennell REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-52CD [62.25]

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Here is another unhackneyed anthology of wind band pieces. Reference Recordings seem to have made something of a speciality of this sort of thing and to have 'landed' Frederick Fennell (doyen of the wind band repertoire) is a major coup.

Enough of the hullabaloo - what is the music like?

Vittorio Giannini (1903-1966) is an American classic of the Schuman and Piston generation. Giannini has at least five symphonies to his name. I am still waiting to hear No. 1 but the others are considerable works. No. 3 is the lightest of the four. Its opening allegro energico combines a John Williams type march with the world of Ron Goodwin. The second movement adagio hales Copland's Quiet City and along the way takes in a Hansonian climax (5.43) and a fade-out worth of Barber. The third movement has a chugging energy and a nice sax chorus. The allegro con brio finale bristles with Waltonian nobilmente.

The Dello Joio offers five variations and an introduction (on In Dulci Jubilo) that joy, monastic reflection, funereal grandeur and a confidently sad steadiness of pace. Nelhybel's piece (which gives the album its name) is in three movements. These emigrate from commandingly muscular film music, to a minatory adagio alive with drum threats and a woodwind contribution like Herrmann's Sinbad music. This is the biggest movement and it is followed by a finale that veers from Tudor antique to Wild West rip-roaring.

The Grieg piece is gloweringly angry - quite a surprise for 1865! The Albeniz seems to me to be the only misfire - lacking the necessary snap and tension at first though gathering itself for the wonderingly awe-struck mystery of the church (2.20) and for a closing magnificence paralleling The Great Gate of Kiev.

I am not convinced by the quality of all the music on show here (the Grieg and Giannini are fine) but there is no doubting the vigour and crackling energy Fennell and the Texans bring.


Rob Barnett


Rob Barnett

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