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Orchestral Excursions
Marga RICHTER (b.1926) Variations and Interludes on Themes from Monteverdi and Bach - a concerto for violin, cello and piano (in one movement (1992) [46:16]
Howard HARRIS (1945-1996) Musicke for Dauncing Judicially, proving the true observation of time and measure in the Authenticall and laudable use of Dauncing for alto saxophone and orchestra (in one movement (1996) [27:05]
Renata Knific (violin); Pamela Frame (cello); Robert Weirich (piano); Gilbert Sabitzer (alto saxophone); Carinthian Saxophone Quartet.
Polish Radio National Symphony/Joel Suben
rec. 2004, Katowice, Poland.
LEONARDA LE351 [73:21]

Experience Classicsonline

Marga Richter’s Variations and Interludes on Themes from Monteverdi and Bach is designated as a single movement. Helpfully Leonarda has tracked this into eleven segments. This helps with study and assimilation. The Prologue from Monteverdi’s Orfeo was used as the foundation for this set alongside Bach’s C Major Prelude from The Well-Tempered Clavier. The always tonal and fresh music runs to a minute more than three-quarters of an hour. It is magnificently serious (Cello Cadenza) and this is is completely in keeping with the points of origin. The music is grand (the Var 3a-5, limpid (Chorale 4-6, Trio Cadenza, Piano Cadenza), imaginatively glittering, cold, strange and flightily prim (Violin Cadenza), imperiously urgent Var 6-7 and finally serene and rounded in its oratory. Interestingly the work was originally titled “… beside the still waters”. The three soloists seem, as far as one can tell, to be completely in tune with the music; nothing grates.
The movements of the Richter are:-
1. Introduction, Theme, Var. 1-3 [3:32]
2. Var. 3a, 3b, Interlude, Var. 4 (Chaconne) -5 [6:15]
3. Var. 6-7, Interlude, Chorale 1-3 [5:14]
4. Two before Chorale 4, - Chorale 6, Var. 8-9 (Fantasy) [4:32]
5. Var. 9 (cont), Var. 10 [4:00]
6. Trio Cadenza [3:20]
7. Cello Cadenza [4:46]
8. Violin Cadenza (Part I) [2:55]
9. Violin Cadenza (Part II), begin Piano Cadenza [2:42]
10. Piano Cadenza (cont), Interlude (tutti) Var. 11-12 [6:03]
11. Chorale 7-9, Theme, Coda [2:54]
12. Stately [3:05]
13. Sweetly, Flowing, Simply, Sweetly, Quirky, Flowing [6:09]
14. Explosive [4:00]
15. With a Latin Feel [1:52]
16. Hymnlike, Mad Procession, Serioso/Explosive; Hallucinatory [4:55]
17. With Dignity, Quasi Religioso [3:47]
18. Restless, Stately, Celebratory [3:15]
Howard Harris studied at Juilliard with Sessions, Carter and Hall Overton. His half hour one movement Musicke for Dauncing Judicially is a saxophone concerto. It is tracked in seven segments. The inspiration came from a re-reading of Hesse’s Steppenwolf. The music explores the tension between jazz and the baroque music that forms the object of adulation for Hesse’s hero. The jazz is, by and large, voiced by Gilbert Sabitzer’s alto saxophone – I never became aware of the other members of the Carinthian Sax Quartet. The music’s grave and even melancholic mien fits adroitly with the austere beauties of the Richter. The harpsichord stalks Harris’s pages which are sometimes fraught with dense-woven complexity. The synergy and conflict between classical sources and jazz in all its slinky wonderment are sold for all they are worth – magnificently so at the start of the Quasi Religioso. The stately finale at times touches on similar moments of Handel and Gabrieli in Hovhaness. Nyman also came to mind once or twice though I can assure readers that this is by no means a minimalist piece.

Rob Barnett
See also earlier review by Paul Shoemaker.












































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