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: Crotchet AmazonUK AmazonUS

 

Ivo MALEC (b. 1925)
Epistola (2006)a [45:20]
Arc-en-cello (2003)b [27:20]
Claudia Barainsky (soprano)a; Marjana Lipovšek (mezzo)a; Robin Leggate (tenor)a; Ralf Lukas (bass)a; Choeur Philharmonique Tchèquea, Brno; Ilia Laporev (cello)b;
Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg/Emmanuel Krivine
rec. Philharmonie, Luxembourg, (live) December 2006 (Epistola) and June 2008 (Arc-en-cello)
TIMPANI 1C1153 [72:50]

 

Experience Classicsonline




Not that long ago I enthusiastically reviewed another Timpani disc devoted to some of Malec's recent orchestral works (Timpani 1C1086). Now comes another one coupling two substantial works: his cello concerto Arc-en-cello (2003) and his large-scale cantata Epistola (2006).

Ivo Malec has always had a real liking for stringed instruments. His output includes an early, now discarded Sonata brevis for cello and piano composed in 1953. Later, however, he composed several important works involving stringed instruments such as Arco-1 (1987 - solo cello), Arco-11 (1975 - eleven solo strings), Lumina (1968 - strings and tape), Arco-22 (1976 - twenty-two solo strings), Lied (1969 - eighteen voices and thirty-nine strings) as well as his three large-scale concertos. The earliest of them Ottava bassa (1984 - double bass and orchestra) has been - and may still be - available on Erato ECD 2292-45521-2 whereas Ottava alta (1995 - violin and orchestra) is available on the aforementioned Timpani disc. His latest concerto is Arc-en-cello. The title is a mild pun on the French word “arc-en-ciel” (“rainbow”) although the music is, to say the least, quite serious indeed. The piece opens with a simple but arresting gesture consisting in a forcefully repeated unison by the soloist, lower strings and brass; but the textures soon expand toward higher registers with increasing speed, although the opening repeated notes still feature prominently as some anchoring point as well as acting as springboard for further developments: a marvellous, iridescent section about halfway through the piece - almost an accompanied cadenza. The music then briefly regains some considerable momentum before reaching another cadenza followed by an appeased, ethereal coda. Ilia Laporev is a formidable musician with impeccable technique and musicality and he obviously has the full measure of the fiendishly taxing solo part in this complex but ultimately rewarding work.

Epistola is a large-scale choral-orchestral cantata for four soloists, chorus and large orchestra, setting parts of a letter written by Marko Marulic (1450 - 1524) to the pope Adrian VI in 1522 at a time when the Ottoman Empire was expanding into the West and was then, so to say, at the gates of Split. In his letter Marulic mentions war and its dreadful aftermath. At the time he discovered Marulic's letter, Malec could not but realise the extraordinary relevance that this age-old text had with the situation in his former country Yugoslavia torn between internal wars and eventually dismantled into a series of more or less independent republics. Nevertheless, though deeply impressed, Malec was not sure whether he would ever set it to music. He thus laid it aside and let it mature, if mature it should. The project was eventually realised ten years later and Epistola was the result. The urgently dramatic orchestral introduction leads to the first entry of the chorus that builds to some Ligeti-like clusters. Marulic's prayer heard immediately after the opening section was originally an appendix at the end of the letter. It will be briefly restated at the very end of the work. In this section, as in several other ones in the course of the work, Malec relies on various vocal techniques from shrieks, shouts, whisperings and chant. The various feelings of anger, anguish, sadness and despair are all vividly conveyed by Malec's rich and wide-ranging orchestral palette - menacing string glissandos, erupting brass and percussion - as well as with varied vocal writing. There are, however, some more reflective moments that keep alternating with the more dramatic ones. A huge climax is reached when Marulic's letter describes how people have been savagely killed by the Ottomans when ransacking their villages. Marulic cannot but deplore that princes rather tend to be divided than united to face the enemy. “They should bear in mind what the Gospel says: every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand”. Malec requests that these words be spoken (in French) by the members of the orchestra, were it only to stress the relevance that these words still hold for our times. Soprano and chorus sing a final plea for peace “et iam pacis amor pectora fida liget” (“and may the love of peace unite loyal hearts”) and the work ends with a short restatement of Marulic's prayer. Malec's Epistola is a magnificent, quite impressive work ultimately carrying a vibrant plea for peace that cannot fail to impress through the sheer power of Malec's endlessly inventive and strongly expressive writing. This is undoubtedly one of the greatest and most gripping works that I have ever heard; and the audience must have felt much the same since it remained remarkably silent during the first performance of the work, which is what we have here. All performers deserve a warm accolade for their commitment throughout this physically and musically exacting work.

In short, this is a superb release and one that vastly repays repeated hearings. It will undoubtedly feature high in my list of Recordings of the Year 2009.

Hubert Culot

 

 


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.