of Belgium, was a name I did not know
before this recording came up for review.
From the results of this recording,
I’d be interested in hearing more. His
mentions that he has over 300 compositions
to his credit, including several works
for euphonium. Known especially as an
improviser, he has appeared as conductor
and performer. He has led various master
classes. According to his bio, he was
a protégé of André
Cluytens. Various CDs of his are available
showcasing his work as composer, performer
and conductor, and he shows up in all
three roles on this disc.
scored for piano and large orchestral
forces, including siren and electric
guitar and attempts to capture the brash
wildness of New York City, starting
with the chaotic bustle of the opening
movement, entitled First Impressions.
This seems to go in all directions and
has moments of great surprise hidden
in all its bustle, including an uneasy
quiet section for piano solo that recalls
Prokofiev at times, Shostakovich’s Jazz
Suites at others. A feline saxophone
slinks over the queasy strings before
larger orchestral forces take up the
second theme. The second movement, entitled
Broadway is intended as the scherzo
and doesn’t leave the listener stuck
in Times Square. We go from there to
Chinatown, through Jewish precincts,
and on through various other areas of
town, including the discothèques.
Though done with humour, this movement
gets to be a good deal too much of a
good thing for this listener. The great
success of the piece is the third movement,
By day in Central Park, which
is a fully enjoyable jazz movement with
a smart theme treated to variations.
Where the Broadway movement provoked
a wince or two with its stereotypical
ethnic treatments, Central Park
shows itself a savvy and slick representation
of a stroll through the winding lanes.
Thoroughly enjoyable. The final movement,
entitled Adventures in Mystery, Passion,
Love and Fight begins with much
cinema noir swirling mist and
tension. Electric guitar and piano lead
the orchestra into the main theme, which
sounds rather like chase music for a
Jazz Western movie at times. The "love"
part of the movement has an engaging
swing to it. The fight scene, with its
siren, again lapses into the overly
dramatic, but the piano writing rescues
things before things get out of hand
for too long. Overall, a rather interesting
and engaging score, if a bit "all-but-the-kitchen-sink"
Glorieux moves from
the piano stool to the front of the
Kiev Chamber Orchestra to direct the
next piece, the Divertimento.
Here Tobias Koch is at piano. As with
Manhattan, the piece holds humour,
but is more successful - with its more
modest forces - in keeping things from
getting too over-the-top. All of the
movements are quite brief, with a gregarious
Introduction, followed by a chuckling
Polka that has the piano working mostly
in octaves on the theme that the orchestra
plays. The central movement is a rather
regretful bossa nova, with the piano
providing the rhythmic chordal support
to the cello before taking over the
thematic material. This same general
introductory formula is used in the
Slow movement, with the strings
muted - a particularly pretty moment.
The final movement of the piece takes
us on a playful romp through a folk-inflected
tune before the piano throws in some
We have quite a different
mood brought in with the concluding
piece, the Mouvements for piano,
percussion, and brass. The indication
Lento drammatico for the opening
movement says it all. It is quite monolithic
in tone and scope. One can easily picture
a Lawrence of Arabia-type panorama
before the piano creeps in timidly,
gaining in gravity and outspokenness
as the piece progresses. One certainly
detects an affinity with Bartók
in this work. We do have intensity here,
and it flirts with moving over the line
of restraint, but still manages to hold
itself in check This work has more of
a serious-minded quality in contrast
to the light-heartedness of the others.
It holds interest, certainly.
My ears detected a
couple of awkward edits over the course
of this last piece; though they are
not a great distraction from the music.
Considering the age of the recordings,
the clarity holds up quite well, and
manages to escape the overly-wide stereo
separation fashionable at the time.
Certainly worth a listen.