> Rendezvous and Dreams [RB]: Classical Reviews- January 2002 MusicWeb(UK)






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RENDEZVOUS AND DREAMS

Vazgen MURADIAN (b.1921)

Concerto for Oboe and String Quartet (1962)

Martin Scot KOSINS (b.1947)

Rendezvous and Dreams for oboe and piano (1980)

John BIGGS (b.1932)

Dance Suite for oboe, violin, viola and cello (2000?)

Gregory la TRAILLE (b.1951)

Oboe Quintet (1999?)
Peter Christ (oboe)
Lisa Bergman (piano)
Crystal Chamber Soloists
rec Crystal Records Auditorium, Camas, WA - 11 Sept 1999 (La Traille); 7 Apr 2000 (Biggs); 14 May 2000 (Kosins); 29 Oct 2000 (Muradian)
CRYSTAL RECORDS CD723 [63.23]

The Muradian has all the life and slender sprightliness of the Benjamin versions of the oboe concertos by Cimarosa and other figures of the Italian baroque. Vivaldi must surely also have been an influence crossed with the fruitiness of Villa-Lobos. In the midmost of the three movements the sun-warmed attentive dialogue amongst the strings prompted thoughts of Mozart's delightful Sinfonia Concertante K364. It must be my fixation on the neo-Baroque-romance of it all that obscures my hearing the Armenian folk flavour claimed for the works by the liner notes.

Muradian is a fascinating figure. He was born in Ashtarak, Armenia on 17 October 1921. He studied at the Spendiarian School (surely a reference to the composer Spendiarov, one of whose orchestral pieces, Almast, was once included on an HMV Melodiya LP). He moved to the US in 1950 and has played viola in various US orchestras including the New Orleans Symphony (presumably he was in the orchestra when they recorded Rorem's memorably phantasmagorical Lions). He has written 68 concertos for 35 different instruments. Muradian writes that 14 of these concerti are the first in world musical literature and 26 are the first in American and Armenian music. He has written 56 songs for voice and orchestra and eight for chorus and orchestra - in six languages.

Kosins' piece lends its name to the title of this hallmark Crystal anthology. The four brief movements are simple and beguiling. This is the best of light writing with no awkward moments of pastiche to get in the way of sincerity. Kosins is active as a pianist in the USA's supper clubs. This heritage plays its role in its guileless avoidance of affectation and complexity and its unfeigned lyrical address. The movements are: Rendezvous for one; La Tango de la White Butterflies; The Love I Saw But Once; Adieu Piaf, Adieu; Morning Must Come. His Love Letter and Winter Moods is on Crystal CD314.

John Biggs' Suite (Tango, Waltz, Basse Danse; Grecian Dance) is altogether more tart - under the Bartok's hegemony. This work was written for Peter Christ expressly for this disc. It is extremely well played by all concerned.

La Traille studied with Grant Fletcher (a totally neglected figure but every bit as deserving of recording as Robert Ward and Don Gillis). The useful notes tell us that he has written a mammoth four movement symphony, a viola concerto and a ballet Ojibwa based on the legends of the Chippewa Indians. His father was Chippewa. He has also composed two string quartets, Arizona Nights (dedicated to the memory of RonaldLoPresti) for clarinet, harp and strings and a Concertino for soprano sax and clarinet ensemble. The Oboe Quintet is fashioned on the fast -slow-fast model. There are moments of great and memorable tenderness in this writing - try the andante. The flicker-chaffing Presto Vivo is part Malcolm Arnold and part Britten.

I would very much like to hear more La Traille's other works and indeed Muradian's. Peter Christ and his collaborators are the soul of enthusiastic discretion and sensitive response.

Rob Barnett

 

 

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