Miklos RÓZSA Tripartita
Morton GOULD Folk Suite
Gian Carlo MENOTTI Triplo Concerto a Tre
Marc LAVRY Emek - symphonic poem
KLEOS CLASSICS KL5103
In the early 1990s David Amos recorded collections of orchestral music including
for Vienna Modern Masters. The composer names he chose were not the most
obvious and the music tunefully out of step with received avant-garde values.
The present varied garland was amongst the earliest issued as 'Volume 1 Modern
Masters' on Harmonia Mundi HMU90 6010. It appeared during the summer of 1991.
It still holds up very well as also does Amos's Hovhaness collection issued
by Peter Christ's Crystal label.
Rózsa, blessedly affluent with Hollywood's film money, stayed faithful
to his 'serious' muse producing this, his last piece of non-concertante concert
music, in 1972. It is a great rarity. Even the Koch series has somehow skirted
around Tripartita. I recall first encountering the work circa 1974
when Ashley Lawrence included it in an all-Rózsa studio broadcast
on BBC Radio 3. The orchestra was the BBC Concert Orchestra. This was
a sure sign that it had just squeezed into the Music Department by a
hair's-breadth. The fact that it was broadcast mid-afternoon, if I recall
correctly, further confirms that it was music contra torrentum so
far as the BBC supremos were concerned. Some BBC staff producer had argued
for it in committee and just 'snuck in' under a barrage of disdain. Later
my BBC tape was replaced and out-pointed by an NPR tape (National SO,
Washington/Dorati). The Amos recording with a patently top-flight orchestra
on good form was and is the work's only commercial recording. Snap it up.
Its recipe of cinema music technique, countryside visions and sourly mordant
film noir tension shows a practised hand but one who has not slipped
into nodding cruise control.
Morton Gould's 1938 three movement Folk Suite was written for the
student orchestra of the High School of Music and Art in New York as was
Copland's splendid Outdoor Overture. It avoids Gould's tendency to
lapses in taste (not at all like the symphonettes, thank heavens!) and in
the finale swerves into Malcolm Arnold territory. The idiom is American populist
travelling the same route as Roy Harris's Fourth Symphony 'Folksong'
with a touch of Ferde Grofé along the way.
The winningly eager grace of the Menotti is but lightly dusted with
neo-classicism. Menotti's is candidly a sincere lyric talent intensified
here by the jewelled shifts of perspective inherent in so much solo work
flickering amongst violin, viola, cello, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, piano,
harp and percussion. While the inspiration sags in the hearty Jig,
overall this is work well worth getting to know.
Lavry (1903-1967), Latvian-born, after a spell in Germany (until 1935), made
his career in Israel. He is little known. Emek has the stamping excitement
of Bartok and the rural repose and poetry of Enescu. It was written in the
first year after Lavry's emigration from Germany and was inspired by Emek
Valley and the young Israeli pioneers who strove against nature to create
a fertile valley from desert conditions. Bernstein made Emek the Israeli
showcase during his first American tour with the Israel PO. While this is
not the stuff to set the world alight it is bright, lyrical and generates
some stamping excitement.
It is good to see this collection given a new lease by Kleos Classics. Notes
are rudimentary but adequate and in any event I am not of the school that
rates the presence of notes as make and break for a disc. The curious will
always be able to find out what they need to know. Perhaps this springs from
the fact that much of my musical education came from listening to radio and
tapes taken from radio relays. I hope that Kleos will root out licences for
other lamented deletions including the Prokofiev stage music from Saison
Russe and Philharmonia Hungarica version of the Rosenberg Fourth Symphony.
Shake off the familiar with this lyrical torte of Middle European and American
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