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Seen & Heard
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|Jon LORD (b. 1941)
Boom of the Tingling Strings - for Piano and Orchestra (Adagio Assai
[8:52]; l'Istesso Tempo [6:22]; Adagio [7:25]; Allegro Giusto [13:55])
Disguises – Suite for Strings (M.A.S.Q.U.E. Poco Adagio
- Allegro Moderato E Poco Pesante [14:22]; Music for
Miriam. Adagio [10:17]; Il Buffone (G.C.). Allegro Vivace
[10:52]) (2003) [35:38]
Odense Symfoniorkester/Paul Mann
rec. 11-15 December 2006, Carl Nielsen Hall, Odense, Denmark.
composer Jon Lord rose to fame in the 1970s as a member of
and since then has been in a variety of rock bands. None
of this has limited his compositional impulses. For the past
forty years he has been diligently creating symphonic works
and finding ways to get them recorded. As a result, he has
operated a successful symphonic career in parallel with his
rock and blues artistry. Happily, like Frank Zappa before
him, Lord’s myriad musical interests have blended to make
interesting and innovative music.
for the first time, here are two of his more recent symphonic
pieces. They are both in some measure, autobiographical with
the first piece also being derived partially from the D.H.
Lawrence poem “Piano” and the other drawing inspiration from
personalities of people Lord knows personally.
movements of “Boom of the Tingling Strings” play without
pause or interruption and display the ample talents of Nelson
Goerner on piano. In places the music is reminiscent of Gershwin’s Concerto
in F, Mendelssohnn’s Symphony No. 3 (“Scottish”),
and various John Williams or Danny Elfman film scores. The
opening is intense, theatrical and dark. The theme is introduced
on vibraphone and low strings. This moves through harp and
various of the woodwind sections while the timpani provide
a sombre rumble. It could easily be the intro to the next
Batman film with that intense, dark feel. Once the mood relaxes
the piano comes to the fore. First it offers a point of relaxation
and de-intensification to serve as remission from the first
writing is exquisite, and is clearly intended for virtuoso
performers; Lord did make it clear that he did not write
this for himself to play. Rather he wanted to write something
truly virtuosic. Though he is certainly not an unaccomplished
pianist, Lord wanted to be unfettered by his own playing
abilities. This approach is quite successful, especially
in the fourth movement where the piano part is worthy of
Chopin in alternating virtuosic fireworks with tender delicacy.
It would not be surprising to find in fifty years time that
this has become standard literature for piano accomplishment.
Both the writing and the performance are masterful.
Disguises is wholly distinct in nature from Boom
of the Tingling Strings, though drawn from largely
the same harmonic library. It harks back to the work of
John Corigliano rather than to the more distant past. A
variety of styles are employed but a constant is the expression
of intensity conveyed through the strings. One can easily
hear the echoes of Corigliano’s film score to The Red
Violin or his clarinet concerto - even though there
is no clarinet in the score. The second movement, “Music
for Miriam”, even features solo violin much of the time.
The harmonies are often Impressionist or Romantic in nature
but free tonality is applied. The liberal use of glissandi
prevents the listener from placing the overall work in
too early a time period. The final movement seems to add
influence from Beethoven with its strongly stated themes
and thick, lush harmonies employed through the strings.
Again this is a very solid piece of music, although it
is easily understood why the other work takes precedence
definitely an album worth exploring. While not completely
groundbreaking, it is infinitely listenable and enjoyable.
The title piece may even be a masterwork.
see also review by Rob Barnett
Gerard Hoffnung CDs
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