This disc is a straight transfer of Crystal LP S223.
It still sounds well with hiss undetectable to my ears. The intrinsic
sound of the instruments is strong though not up-front - more of a believable
Nilovic’s two pieces are similar in style as you might
expect from their close dates. His work in jazz and film music lends
a popular air to these movements without being simplistic or superficial.
Especially in the Suite I began to think of him as a sort of hybrid
between Malcolm Arnold and Robin Holloway. Arnold is known internationally
and his brass ensemble music includes a forbidding Symphony written
for the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble. Holloway is less well known contemporary
figure in his sixties. In the brass ensemble world he should be much
better known for his tragic-poignant- pastoral triptych of brass band
pieces written around the world of A.E. Housman (to date I have only
heard Men Marching and From Hills and Valleys). In Nilovic
let’s say 1 part each Holloway and Rutter to 3 parts Arnold. A simplistic
formula, I know, but it’s the best I can do to give you some impression
of the sound.
The Concerto is salty, Weill-like, airy
and fruitily recorded. It shows a great feeling for soft playing (lovely
quiet misteroso playing in the Interlude) and for gritty on-the-edge
rhythmic patterns: spirited to the point of aggression. The Theme and
Variations incorporates some very beautiful soliloquising including
an extraordinary sound like the quiet cycling of a siren. In the Finale
I noted at 5.30 a slow sliding upward whoop to pp and punctuating
rhythmic pattern-impacts suggestive of Beethoven’s ‘fate’ motif. Compare
this with the similarly highly inventive seven movement Suite
with its rip-snorting jazziness, determination, gentle sway (like Bolero
more than once) and acrobatic levity. Nilovic was born in Montenegro,
is now based in France and has written prolifically including some 1000
jazz and classical compositions. In December 2001 his suite for piano
and orchestra Toutes les Musiques du Monde had its world premiere.
This music would go down well in any company. Fears
of dry monotony prompted by seven trombones and memories of Vinko Globokars
arid 1970s experiments are misplaced.