Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW



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
Atoll
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
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

reVISIONS
Claude DEBUSSY
(1862-1918) arr. Sally Beamish (2006) Suite pour Violoncelle et Orchestre [20:07]
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) arr. Richard Tognetti (2008) Deux mélodies hébraïques [6:35]
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) arr. Vladimir Blok (1996) Concertino for Violoncello and Orchestra, Op.132 [19:25]
Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) arr. Christopher Palmer (1990) From Jewish Life (1924) [10:49]
Steven Isserlis (cello)
Tapiola Sinfonietta/Gábor Takács-Nagy
rec. November 2009, Tapiola Concert Hall, Finland.
BIS-SACD-1782 [58:10]

Experience Classicsonline


 
No doubt hypnotised by the cleverness of the title reVisions, this isn’t so much an album of revisions as arrangements. We could have had Steven Isserlis sitting comfortably at a rustic stove, and called the thing arRANGEments, or placed him in a WWII setting and called re-orchestRATIONS. I fear we would however be drifting ever further from the undoubtedly serious and poetic content of this beautifully prepared and performed disc, so I shall climb down from my pedantic hobby horse and get to business.
 
The programme begins with the most extreme re-working in the programme, creating something new from a piece of which only remnants survive. Debussy wrote a Suite for Cello and Orchestra at the age of 19. With only one movement actually extant, the Intermezzo, which was re-made into a piece for cello and piano, Sally Beamish had to create a work from other pieces by Debussy, incorporating a Scherzo which is thought may also have come from the suite, and is at least its contemporary. Steven Isserlis’s booklet notes describe the origins of each movement, but despite the fragmentary gathering of disparate items from the dusty bottom of Debussy’s drawers, this turns out to be a highly effective little suite. The orchestration can sound a little on the glittery side, some of the percussion reviving school orchestra associations, but it is most certainly never dull. There is a lovely moment 1:15 into the final Danse bohémienne where Isserlis plays voice to the bass clarinet in a kind of Slam Stewart tribute duet. Isserlis promises to eat his hat if it doesn’t enter the cello repertoire, but it doesn’t look as if he is about to start wearing one.
 
Darker and more atmospheric is Richard Tognetti’s arrangement of Ravel’s Deux mélodies hébraïques. These two movements were originally for soprano and piano, and later arranged by Ravel for soprano and orchestra. Isserlis asked Tognetti to make a version with strings to give him something to play while on a tour of Australia in 2008, and with the addition of a harp for this recording this is a happy confluence of circumstance which works very well indeed. Isserlis revels in the depth of feeling in the mournful Kaddish, and the miniature second movement is also a potent enigma.
 
The Prokofiev Concertino gives rise to a marvellous anecdote, in which Isserlis is collared and nearly flattened by Rostropovich, who opposed the re-working of a piece already orchestrated for him by Kabalevsky. Vladimir Blok’s lighter, more chamber-orchestra version has appeared on CD before, and there is a recording with Raphael Wallfisch on the Nimbus label which I quite liked a while ago. Listening again the balance of the orchestra is perhaps a little too recessed by comparison. The BIS recording is fuller and the strings better disciplined, so in the end this newer release does come away with the laurels. Despite the Concertino title and re-orchestration, it remains quite a tough piece in places, the Tapiola Sinfonietta and Steven Isserlis bringing out more of that Russian ‘soul’ than I’ve heard before. Isserlis has removed the final brass entry at the end of the first movement, but comparing this light percussion cadence with the fairly subtle brass chords which appear in the Wallfisch recording there isn’t that much to make a much fuss about. What can be made a fuss about is the gorgeous warmth of the central Andante, and the witty winds in the final Allegretto, and this is a very fine performance indeed.
 
The programme ends with Ernest Bloch’s From Jewish Life, a recreation of Jewish musical style and feeling but without the use of pre-existing Jewish melodies. Originally for cello and piano, this is another arrangement which works extremely well, the atmosphere of sustained strings creating a texture over which the solo cello can emerge with improvisatory and declamatory passion. Isserlis changes the order of the movements in his performances, determined to have the Prayer as a final movement. One can debate the merits or demerits of this, or just re-programme your player if it bothers you. With this ending you do get a sort of timeless final unanswered question in tonal terms, something which is not resolved in the central Supplication in any case, so you won’t hear me complaining, especially where the musicianship is so heartfelt and expressive as here.
 
BIS has produced yet another superbly engineered SACD recording with reVisions. The whole thing oozes quality, and the programme works very well both as a concept and in practical terms. Only the Debussy sticks out as being a bit too Hollywood, but as an opener it works well enough. If you like your music atmospheric, emotionally charged and passionate, then this is a disc to be treasured. The Tapiola Sinfonietta is a crack bunch of musicians, and Gábor Takács-Nagy a sensitive accompanist to Steven Isserlis’s powerful but never overbearing solos.
 
Dominy Clements
 
.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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






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.