£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


BUY NOW 

AmazonUK   AmazonUS

American Contrasts
Benjamin LEES (b.1924)

Passacaglia for Orchestra (1976) [11.37]
Vincent PERSICHETTI (1915-1987)

Symphony No. 4 (1942) [26.02]
Michael DAUGHERTY (b.1954)

Philadelphia Stories for Orchestra:
(1) Sundown on South Street (2000) [7.26]
(2) Hell's Angels* (2000) [16.20]
Bassoon Brothers *
Oregon Symphony Orchestra/James DePreist
rec. 2000. DDD
DELOS DE 3291 [61.24]


Lees' Passaglia is a compact work. At just over 11 minutes it is about the length of a standard concert overture. It has more gravitas than the conventional opener. Lees states the theme deep in the bass and then has the orchestra elaborate either lugubrious or with murderous sincerity. The groundswell of the bass theme remains a constant. The music has a Bach-like weightiness of expression. There is nothing of obvious brilliance. If anything this music has parallels with Rubbra and certain Bliss works including the John Blow Meditations.

In the 1940s Vincent Persichetti proved musically receptive to a slew of influences. Bartók appears time and again. Listen to the repeated tributes to Concerto for Orchestra. Bartók is not alone. We can also hear Copland and Roy Harris. The stabbing pungent brass and percussion figures in parts of the third movement point towards Schuman. We are left in no doubt that DePreist has a virtuoso orchestra at his bidding.

The Iowan composer, Michael Daugherty will be fifty next year, no longer the young lion. His credentials are salty and provocative, a student of computer music with Boulez at IRCAM in Paris, of jazz with Gil Evans and with Ligeti in Hamburg. With such forebears you might have expected his two pieces to be avant-garderie of the plink-plunk school. Nothing of the sort. The Sundown piece is an attractive amalgam of commercial music, latino high stepping, big city jazz, cinema grandeur and serenity. The infusions of popular culture are well resolved into the texture with the two guitar interventions masterfully done. This made me think of Eshpai's ballet The Circle (Albany).

The Hell's Angels piece is a concerto for three bassoons, contrabassoon and orchestra. It was commissioned by the Philharmonia. It starts with the threatening and dissolute sounds of a Hell's Angels' gang and burbles its way through. As this piece progresses you become increasingly aware of two facets of the Daugherty 'signature': lucid orchestration that strips back from grand effect to microcosmic fantasy, delicate romantic facility and grand rumba shindigs like those in Malcolm Arnold's Fourth and Sixth Symphonies.

Rob Barnett

 



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

 

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable Arcodiva
British Music Soc.
CDAccord
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter


Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter

Return to Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.