Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


 REVIEW

Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

alternatively
CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline


Alan HOVHANESS (1911-2000)
Cello Concerto Op. 17 (1936) [31.13]
Symphony No. 22 City of Light Op. 236 (1971) [29.43]
Janos Starker (cello)
Seattle Symphony/Dennis Russell Davies (concerto); composer (symphony)
rec. 19 Mar 1999, Benaroya Hall, Seattle (concerto); 19 May 1992, Seattle Center Opera House. DDD
NAXOS 8.559158 [60.49] 

 

Experience Classicsonline


Hovhaness did not lack for celebrity supporters. Although solo concertos were nowhere near as profuse in his output as symphonies, his 1976 Violin Concerto Ode to Freedom was premiered by Menuhin with Kostelanetz, Symphony No. 36 had an extensive solo role for Jean-Pierre Rampal and here we have Janos Starker launching the Cello Concerto's world premiere recording. 

This Concerto is part of an extremely small number of works that survived the composer's 1940 ‘bonfire of the vanities’ in which some one thousand of his works of the 1930s went up in smoke. The Cello Concerto is music noticeably in the Hovhaness idiom. Do not expect dynamic concentration. Instead we get a meditatively rhapsodic work with gestural drama provided by a swingingly portentous gravity. The central panel is briskly and flowingly rhapsodic aided by hallmark pizzicato and woodwind decoration. The string writing combines the yearning tension of Barber's Adagio with Oriental modality. Hovhaness is not always sweetly inclined and works such as Mountains and Rivers Without End and the Vishnu Symphony freely use groaning dissonances. Much of the concerto is extremely easy on the ears. Only the central ‘panel’ with its grand and almost minatory brass-emphasis provides tension and contrast. The work ends in a rapidly gathering skein of stormy darkness. 

The writing in the Cello Concerto has a barren Presbyterian quality by comparison with the 1971 Symphony. City of Light is in four movements and was written for the Birmingham (Alabama) Symphony Orchestra for that city's centennial celebrations. The first movement deploys plush-lush string harmonies, lustrous and full-toned, and elaborates sedately-moving material with the awed tones of tam-tam and hieratic brass. The fast-shuddering and brief Angel of Light largo calls up the composer's childhood vision of Christmas. The third movement allegretto grazioso is also short (2.42) with a ‘Vaughan Williamsy’ quick-trudging theme developed from a  melody Hovhaness wrote for an early operetta, Lotus Blossom. Again there is plenty of pizzicato and high-wheeling music for the piccolo. The ‘Hymn of Praise’ largo maestoso finale is again portentous without quite the wrenching blackness that marks the main climactic statements in the Cello Concerto. Dancing violins and antiphonal effects (5.50) prepare the way for a finale in which one of Hovhaness’s whirlwind mosaic storms bids the listener farewell (12.30). 

These two recordings are part of the Naxos Seattle series most of which derive from Delos CDs from the early-mid 1990s. The Cello Concerto has not previously been issued in any commercial format. This recording of the Symphony first appeared on Delos DE3137. 

A contrasting couple of works, stunningly recorded and well annotated by Steven Lowe. The spare and rare Cello Concerto played by the world renowned - and rather breathy - Starker and the composer-directed Symphony No. 22, an artefact of his lush-plush mystical 1970s.

Rob Barnett

see also Reviews by John France and Ian Lace

 

 

 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review 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.