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Decca Phase 4
Musique Vespérale pur Elsa op. 14- Sumphônia (V) for
solo cello and orchestra (2003, rev. 2005) [25:15]
Obscur chemin des étoiles op. 15 - Nocturnal-Fantasy for
piano solo (2003-4) [21:50]
Artificial Horizon op. 3 No.2 - 12 Variations for
violin solo (2001) [6:41]
Cénotaphe op. 4 - Petite Fantaisie et chorale
pour piano solo en hommage á J.S. Bach et Samuil Feinberg (2000)
Jeux d'Ombres op. 7c - Improvisation VIII, Ode à Floribert
le poète for violin and piano (2001) [9:51]
Arlequins en rouge et blanc (Hommage à Raoul
Dufy) op. 2 No. 1 - Improvisation for cello and piano
Esquisse pour Adramandoni op. 12 - poème musical
electro-acoustique (2006) [3:53]
(cello); Orchestre National de Montpellier/Leif Segerstam;
Jonathan Powell (piano); Hannele Segerstam (violin);
Christophe Sirodeau (piano). DDD
rec. 24, 26 March 2006, Salle Berlioz, Le Corum, Montpellier;
Salle Beracasse, Le Corum, Montpellier; Temple St Marcel,
ALTARUS AIR-CD-9035 [79:59]
the Parisian composer is largely self-taught. He had
advice from Victoria Borisova-Ollas whose works have attracted
a Phono-Suecia CD. His music has been taken up by Jonathan
Powell, an Altarus stalwart. His String Quartet No. 3 Le
recherche de l'absolu, was written in memory of Sirodeau's
mother and premiered in Nuremberg and recorded by Bavarian
Radio. He is a fine pianist with an unusually adventurous
taste which has seen him at the forefront of the Feinberg
revival. He was a piano pupil of Yevgeny Malinin (1982-92)
and attended the Moscow Conservatory (1989-92). He has
recorded Segerstam, Feinberg and Skalkottas for BIS and
often collaborates with Leif Segerstam.
privilege to be able to review an Altarus disc. Getting
hold of review copies has been next to impossible. Perhaps
things will change now.
a small label with a connoisseur following and a small
but select catalogue encompassing Sorabji, Marx, Stevenson
and others whom conventional concert wisdom has placed
at or beyond the pale.
movement Musique Vespérale is a strongly poetic
and atmospheric work in which strands of silk and steel
can be sensed. At various times it reminded me of the Britten Cello
Symphony as well as the Bridge Oration. The
central movement is spectrally romantic. This is a live
concert recording but the end results suggest sedulous
preparation, yet preserving a sense of danger and volatility.
Bird-calls and 'fanfare' figures emerge in an overgrowth
of jungle complexity which looks to Szymanowski's Song
of the Night and John Buller's Proença. It was
heard in an earlier version on 19 May 2004 at Jyväskylä but
the final version - which is heard here – came out at two
concerts in Montpellier one of which was broadcast by Radio
France in May 2006. By the way the word Sumphônia means
'ensemble of sounds' in ancient Greek.
solo piano is played by Powell. It is a work that partakes
of Sorabji, Messiaen and Szymanowski heard after the
transformational alembic of 20th century dissonance.
This is music of dancing swirling shards and intimate
confidences finally tolling into silence. There is a
feral dissonant stone-cracking assault about Cénotaphe.
It uses quotes from Feinberg's Sixth Sonata which was
premiered by Powell at the Feinberg Festival in Moscow
in 2005. Everything is recorded with fearful power and
pleasing nuance. Try the thunderous attack and silky
retreats of Artificial Horizon. It manages to
approach the Variations without stultifying academicism. Jeux
d'Ombres is for violin and piano - music that derives
from his Sumphônia 2 - Incandescences des ombres.
It squeaks and hunts under a straining hysteria ending
in a moonlit morendo for the two instruments. Arlequin is
based on a painting by Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) which is
reproduced in the booklet. With an overwhelmingly studio-electronic
signature the Esquisse manages to be both intimate
and grandiloquent. It’s a lavishly detailed and mesmerising
collage with spoken word, whispered and orated in various
languages, a sand-brush swishing ostinato, birdsong,
harpsichord notes, bell sounds, piano and organ.
are a company of remorseless integrity. They have never
had any truck with extraneous detail such as total playing
time and duration of individual pieces. They're never listed.
The music's the thing - and that's it! The details given
above were slogged out using the CD player display and
a generous cross-section of Sirodeau's music which although
it has an avant-garde signature remains unintimidating.
It welcomes the adventurous traveller.
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