Concerto nostalgico “L’automne”
amoroso “Le printemps”
are the first two
panels of Bacri’s work-in-progress Les quatre saisons
, a series of four concertos for oboe and other
instruments. The third panel Concerto tenebroso “L’hiver”
oboe, violin and strings was first performed in January 2010.
The first performance of the fourth panel Concerto luminoso “L’été”
oboe, violin, cello and strings is to take place in spring 2011.
Concerto amoroso “Le printemps”
oboe, violin and strings is in a single movement in which a long
central Notturno is framed by two lively, rhythmically alert
outer sections (Mosaïca and Mosaïca II). The outer
sections display Neo-classical characteristics whereas the central
Nocturne is at times quite intense. The scoring for oboe and
cello imbues Concerto nostalgico “L’automne”
oboe, cello and strings with an appropriately autumnal colour.
This, too, is in one single movement falling into four sections
played without a break. The music unfolds seamlessly from the
dark mood of the opening through various contrasting sections
(Scherzo alla Fuga
) before reaching
the beautiful, appeased epilogue.
Nicolas Bacri has composed quite a number of concertos or concertante
-some thirty of them up to now (2010). The Concerto for
Flute and Orchestra
is scored for fairly small orchestral
forces (double woodwind, two horns, percussion and strings) and
is in three movements. The first movement opens with a slow introduction
leading into the main part of the movement Allegro moderato that
nevertheless allows for a variety of moods. The second movement Estatico
a Nocturne of sorts - one with some very dark corners. The final
movement opens with some energy, but moods vary again until the
music reaches its conclusion in a night music à la
in which it eventually thins away calmly.
The short Nocturne Op.90
for cello and strings
is in a fairly straightforward arch-form with slow outer sections
framing a more animated and tense central one. This compact work
is - to my mind - a good example of Bacri’s music-making
in that the music says all it has to say with not a single note
Nicolas Bacri has composed six symphonies so far and his Seventh
Symphony will be premiered in autumn 2011. The Symphony
No.4 “Sturm und Drang” Op.49
for the Orchestre de Picardie of which Bacri was composer-in-residence.
The orchestra and its conductor Louis Langrée had dedicated
a concert-cycle to “Sturm und Drang” compositions
of the late-Classical era and wanted a new work in the same aesthetic.
Bacri, however, wanted to write his own music while paying homage
to some older beloved composers. The four movements of the Fourth
Symphony are thus meant as homage to composers of the early 20th
(Richard Strauss, Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Weill respectively)
although the music never directly quotes from or alludes to their
music. The work as a whole is also a tribute to a number of other
century composers such as Ravel, Prokofiev and
Walton. The Fourth Symphony is Bacri’s Classical Symphony
homage to the musical past without a single hint of pastiche
One of the more endearing characteristics of Nicolas Bacri’s
music is that he never outstretches or overworks his material
thus achieving some remarkable concision. This is never at the
expense of expression and communication. As early as 1983, when
his music was still fairly adventurous, Bacri inscribed a phrase
from Tristan Tzara on one of his scores: “I know that I
carry melody within me and I am not afraid of it”. The
works recorded here - as so much else in Bacri’s output
- clearly “carry melody and are not afraid of it”.
All these performances are excellent and superbly recorded, and
the whole - Martin Anderson’s detailed and well-informed
insert notes included - is up to BIS’ best standards. This
is a very fine release by any count.