Dinos CONSTANTINIDES (b. 1929)
Symphonic Music
Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Chamber Orchestra (2001) [12:48]
Homage to Louisiana (1995) [7:05]
Violin Concerto (1994) [22:09]
Threnos of Creon for English Horn and String Orchestra (1993) [10:11]
Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra (2006) [17:13]
Athens Saxophone Quartet; Simos Papanas (violin); James Ryon (english horn); Gabriel Beavers (bassoon)
The Louisiana Sinfonietta/composer
rec. live, no details given
CENTAUR CRC3036 [69:27]

Constantinides is fond of the saxophone; either that or saxophonists are fond of Constantinides Ö or possibly both. His symphony no. 6 and two other saxophone concertos can be found on another disc from the same company Centaur CRC 2871. The Concerto for Saxophone Quartet is in five movements. The writing is as melodic and lively as usual with this composer. It recalls Glass and Nyman in its pecking insistent excitement with a hint of Beethovenís Fifth in the Prologue and in Monologue I and II. A lush Mozartean sound is established in the Tetralogue. The Homage to Louisiana is a haunting piece with shadows of the anthems of the USA and France appearing as shifting wraiths. It was written to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Louisiana purchase. The Violin Concerto was premiered by Walter Verdehr whose family recordings have been a central strand of the Peter Christís Crystal label. The work appeared at the 1995 Festival of Contemporary Music at Louisiana University Ė the 50th anniversary of the Festival. Itís hyper-romantic, having affinities with the Barber, Walton and Sibelius concertos but in a blend with the music of Copland and Roy Harris. The romance is rapturously stormy in the outer movements but becalmed and tender in the Idyll. The Threnos of Creon derives from his opera Antigone. It is a soliloquy by or for King Creon when he has lost all. This plangent and poignant piece should be well liked by anyone who also enjoys Sibeliusís Swan of Tuonela, William Alwynís Autumn Legend or the desolate elegiac meditations one finds in the film music of Bernard Herrmann. The Bassoon Concerto was written for Miltiade Nenoiu. The three movements are played without pause though they are separately tracked here. This is a picaresque concerto and a sense of soulís pilgrimage suffuses its pages. The liner-notes are good, the recording quality vivid, the soloists and orchestra skilled, lucidly portrayed by the engineers and the audience play a largely tacit role. This is attractively memorable and melodic music.

Rob Barnett

Attractively memorable and melodic music.