from a certain tubbiness in the Slovenian recording image this
is a very agreeable disc. Johnson and Freeman deliver a joyous
and excitable performance of the Kabalevsky which for its
formula and gesture works a treat. The melodic content is excellent.
Listen also to the Colas Breugnon references in the finale.
The perspective and sound is better than that on the recent Chandos
Kabalevsky collection with Kathryn Stott. The pattern adopted
by this concerto also helped fashion Shostakovich's Second Concerto
- a work which rises above the formula and serves to redefine
Muczynski concerto is an early work which at first and
later pours on torrents of romantic layering and protest like
superheated Creston or Flagello. It lightens this element with
a neo-classical cool (tr.4. 1.48, tr. 5, 00.14) and with bone
china fragile vitality. The allegretto pastorale is a beauty of
reflective writing. The favourable impact of the work is enhanced
by its pocket dimensions - succinct and apt to its inventive material.
The same can be said of the quicksilver solo piano Suite
which emphasises rhythmic tightness over the lyric voice. The
lovely orchestral Serenade is evocative of the composer's
childhood days in the sultry summers of the Midwest. It is warmly
written, a little like Barber, moonrisen and brimming with the
razor edge of nostalgia. The celesta-painted moonlight is especially
notable at 2.30 and the same instrument presides over the work's
close. This is a most wonderful and neglected classic of the American
very successful mix though the playing time is short. Some extremely
pleasing music here with playing to match.