Symphony No. 2 is remarkably well-served for a recent piece.
Not too long ago I considered the excellently-recorded Ondine
version of this very work (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2004/Jun04/corigliano_symphony2.htm
), a disc let down by the preternatural vacuity of the coupling.
The symphony’s UK
premiere (BBCSO/Slatkin, http://www.musicweb-international.com/SandH/2003/May03/corigliano205.htm
) left me rather unmoved.
here is the Chandos contribution, in vivid sound. And there
is no doubt that I Musici de Montréal seem to be going from
strength to strength. This re-thinking of the 1996 String Quartet
for string orchestra calls on Bartókian quiet (first movement),
near-violence juxtaposed with concerto/ripieno contrasts (second
movement), an aural picture of Morocco (Nocturne) and the archaic
form of Fugue.
crystal-clear, spacious recording helps raise this above the
Ondine account, letting the crystalline textures of the opening
tell memorably, and not shirking at all in the explosions of
the second movement Scherzo. More, Turovsky paces the work in
masterly fashion, a strength nowhere more in evidence than in
the emotional heart of the work, the Nocturne (the longest movement,
at nine minutes), where control is at a premium. But he is no
less gripping in the Fugue, where themes are composed of even
beats, with voices travelling at different tempi. It is gripping
here, much more so than was the case live with Slatkin; there
I found the Fugue, ‘interesting but not wholly involving’.
score to the excellent film ‘The Red Violin’ revealed
the composer’s affinity with this medium; indeed the score was
an award-winning success. The Suite (for solo violin, timpani,
percussion, harp and strings) works well, too - better, in my
estimation, than the Symphony. Of course there is a solo violin
part, well delivered by Eleanora Turovsky. There is also a beautifully
expressively-played cello solo in the third movement, ‘Death
of Anna’, played here by Alain Aubut. Eleanora Turovsky delivers
the ‘Gypsy Cadenza’ (the tenth and penultimate movement) with
real panache. The highlights, though, are the slow and gorgeous
sixth movement (‘Shanghai’) seventh (‘Pope’s Betrayal’), with its huge interruptive percussion
new Chandos version of the Second Symphony now takes pride of
place on the Corigliano part of the shelf.