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Tetsuji EMURA (born 1960)
Violin Concerto No.2 L’Inextérieur (1992)a
Tsippi FLEISCHER (born 1946)

Symphony No.3 Regarding Beauty (2000)b
Dinos CONSTANTINIDES (born 1928)

Millenium Festival Overture (2000)b
Don WALKER (born 1941)

Topolobampo (1999)b
Gerry MURPHY (born 1947)

Piano Concerto No.1 (1999/2000)c
Azumi Takada (violin)a; Finghin Collins (piano)c; Tokyo Philharmonica; Moravian Philharmonic Orchestrabc; Kazuhiko Komatsua, Jiri Mikulabc (conductors)
Recorded: neither dates nor venues given


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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.

Hubert Culot


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