Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  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

Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (b. 1934)
Linguae Ignis (2002) [10:23]
Vesalii Icones (1969) [39:57]
Fantasia on a Ground and Two Pavans (1968) [10:22]
Vittorio Ceccanti (cello: Ignis, Icones) Contempoartensemble/Mauro Ceccanti
rec. 22-23 May 2004, Studio di Registrazione di Valter Neri, Montevarchi, Italy. DDD
NAXOS 8.572712 [60:41]

Experience Classicsonline



This is a collection of two classic and one recent composition by Peter Maxwell Davies, who is - hard to believe - nearly 75. It contains sensitively-played music for mixed ensemble in recognition of Mediaeval and Renaissance music, in which such a combination was so natural. Indeed, the Pavans from towards the start of the composer's career are based on Purcell. Similarly, Vesalii Icones is a series of movements reflecting a depiction of the human anatomy by the sixteenth century Belgian physician Andreas van Wesel.

Even the newer work, Linguae Ignis ('Tongues of Fire') from 2002 is based on two Pentecostal plainchants, Dum complerentur and Veni Creator Spiritus. Here it's played by its dedicatee cellist, Vittorio Ceccanti. He is the ideal soloist. He is able to remain detached - aloof, almost - when members of the ensemble, the brass in particular, seem to do everything they can to squash, at least to press down on, the delicacy of the cello's melody. Without this juxtaposition Ceccanti’s sinuous lines would actually make less sense, The work is potentially tentative and fragmentary. Yet it benefits from being held together in this performance by the richness and confidence of Ceccanti's cello unabashed yet unmannered cello style: clean, pungent and open.

Vesalii Icones is just as dramatic, just as taut. Perhaps even more so. It's a work that really benefits from also experiencing the contortions and gyrations of the dancer who is usually involved in live performances. It’s the visual and kinetic equivalent of the strangled utterances of the Mad King George, in Maxwell Davies' piece of the same year. Although played without a break, the sanctus bells lend structure, and distinguish between the 14 sections, none of which lasts longer than five minutes.

Again, the playing of the Contempoartensemble is direct and directed - at the essence of that almost tangible energy which characterises Vesalii Icones. It's as cautious as it's caustic - for it is searing …There is little that's calming or re-assuring as the sections referring to the Agony of Christ make their tortuous way to the tragic conclusion. Such concentration is necessary … already half-way through Vesalii Icones Maxwell Davies' trade-mark 'honky tonk' and ragtime piano make their appearance. If the work, actually serious, isn't to descend into 'genre' music, then playing which is neither humourless nor too grandiose is vital.

Contempoartensemble is splendid in this respect. Their players distil the musicality, the melody, texture and particularly the pacing of Maxwell Davies' spare scores in such a way that you feel you have really understood its essence. The sleeve-note describes the music as 'sardonic and provocative'. In a way that's just what it is not … in these players' hands. They have a far more thorough and engaging grasp of the juxtaposition of the 'old and new'. They produce music that stands in its own right. What a refreshing approach. We're used to ensembles - especially Maxwell Davies' own Fires of London - who bring the weight, experience and idiom of the composer's apparently quirky blend of syncopation and sensitivity to their performances. Where Contempoartensemble scores on this new release is precisely by lacking - or seeming to lack; summa ars…? - what we may well always have assumed were those required traditions. The result is a freshness, a perception and a depth that force us to listen to this music anew.

This transparency is just as evident in the Fantasia on a Ground. Contempoartensemble lacks none of the necessary 'swing' and panache to convey Maxwell Davies' enthusiasm for 1930s dance music. They have all the robustness needed to prevent any hint of 'camp'. At the same time, it's a very respectful - not to say respectable, even - performance. This has the welcome effect of drawing our attention back to the nuance and subtlety in the music instead of leading us astray with pastiche elements. The acoustic is immediate and close without being over intense. The liner-notes are to the point and clear. Amazingly, this is now the only recording of any of these works in the current catalogue; another reason for snapping it up without hesitation.

Mark Sealey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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.