One of the most grown-up review sites around

2020
53,992 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                     Editor in Chief: John Quinn              

Some items
to consider


Chopin Edition 17CDs
now available separately
£11 post-free anywhere


TROUBADISC

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


 

Recordings of the Month

September


Opera transcriptions & fantasias


TAKEMITSU MESSIAEN


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


Schubert Symphony 9

August


Jean-Baptiste LEMOYNE


Enescu Ravel Britten


Debussy Images etc.


53 Studies on Chopin Études 1
Konstantin Scherbakov (piano)

 

 

 


Availability

Andrea PADOVA (b.1962)
Ballads & Prayers
Perfect Moon
Prelude
Once Again
Breath of the Earth
Turning Point
In Motion
Prayer
Chanson Perdue
Kaddish
Memory Lane
Night Garden
Sunday Afternoon
James Houlik (saxophone)
Andrea Padova (piano)
rec. 2017, Limen Music Studio
Includes CD and DVD of the same performances
LIMEN CDVD102C102 [47:14]

Italian composer and pianist Andrea Padova teams up with American tenor saxophonist James Houlik for a 47-minute, 12-track recital of ballads and prayers in both CD and DVD formats. The visual element shows that both musicians play from the score; there’s no improvisation but Padova has clearly absorbed elements of jazz phrasing over his compositional career and infuses them into his compact works. The set is austere, both musicians dressed all in black, the lighting subdued, the only element of colour the Turkish carpet and the Renaissance-styled sculpture on the side of the stage. The atmosphere, then, is focused, devoid of frippery, serious-minded.

Padova’s music is intensely lyric and expressive. The pieces are similarly structured, in the main, and run for a similar span – around four minutes is the average, so they have the temporal span of popular song. Nothing is obscure or complex, rather the focus is on communicative richness and beauty of texture and tone, as well as a certain affecting depth. The expressive precision is shown in Perfect Moon, a slow unfolding of instrumental finesse or in the distribution in material between the two instruments on Prelude. Ripe piano chording with little jazzy turns of phrase are a constant element of the procedure though Padova explores a more extrovert and robust line in Breath of the Earth whilst Houlik, an exemplary player, slightly twists the tone on Turning Point; this slight timbral hoarseness serves to enliven the tune. In the main, however, songfulness is all – when, that is, the music is not in mourning mode; Kaddish or Prayer, for example. The former is not Hebraic – no Bloch-like infiltrations, for instance. The music is lightly keening, certainly, but not mournful and the emotive temperature remains temperate.

With the nostalgic warmth of Memory Lane comes renewed lyric generosity. There’s no doubt that Padova is an attractive and successful lyric composer. However, from time to time, the piano-then-sax-then-back-again procedure can tend to pall as it does so often in jazz performances where solos follow a predictable instrumental route. And for all the technical adroitness and tonal beauty to be heard there is sometimes, for me at least, a frustration that procedure and execution lack variety of tempo and mood.

The notes are very brief and the recording quality on both CD and DVD first class. Best to savour this one track at a time.

Jonathan Woolf





Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage



Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger