Flute Concerto No.1
Symphony No. 2
Concerto for Saxophone(s).
(flutes)/Emil Sein (saxophones)
University of Huddersfield New Music Ensemble & Symphony Orchestra
Barrie Webb (conductor).
MPS Music and Video CD007
This extremely interesting and successful CD, produced by
Cary Nutman, emanates
from Barrie Webb's association with Romania and the leading Romanian
composer Doina Rotaru, who was featured in the Huddersfield Festival
of Contemporary Music in 1990. The recordings of the concertos were made
in Huddersfield in 1994 & 1995, and the Symphony at a live concert in
St Paul's Hall there in 1997. These are excellent professional productions
and you would be hard put to it to suspect that they are student forces.
Doina Rotaru (b. 1951) has won many awards and is a professor at Bucharest.
Her style is readily accessible and incorporates contemporary methods including
'sound and timbre patterns going back to Romanian folklore as well as symbolic
structural principles (circular and spiral shapes, sacred numbers etc)'.
Do not let this put you off; composers throughout history have used esoteric
techniques with which they do not expect listeners to concern themselves.
The flute(s) concerto is the first of four. Pierre-Yves Artaud, in
the 80s recognised as one of the very finest flautists for innovative
contemporary repertoire, played it in 1988. He subsequently commissioned
three more concertos from Doina Rotaru and recorded them all! The soloist
doubles piccolo and alto flute, with strings and percussion, and it creates
'a Romanian spiritual climate'. The melodic line of the beginning is supported
by heterophonic textures. The second, giocoso giusto, is livelier
and the third part subjects archaic Romanian melodic structures to continuous
In the other concerto, its dedicatee, saxophonist Emil Sein, builds
incantations on three saxophones, eventually played simultaneously, with
seven sections corresponding to the mythological Seven levels to the sky
in Romanian folklore.
The second symphony plays continuously in three clearly defined sections.
The first descends from high to lowest registers, the second starts with
percussion, becomes more dramatic and gives way to shepherds' pipes; the
third starts in monody, and adds polyphony and heterophony (a feature of
Rotaru's music) with a final alternation of static and pulsating music. Although
these sections become evident, certainly on second hearing, it would have
been helpful if the CD had more detailed indexing. Otherwise there is nothing
to criticise. St Paul's Hall in Huddersfield has enviable acoustics and the
recording captures what must have been exciting experiences admirably.
[Enquiries to Barrie Webb at Huddersfield University,
Peter Grahame Woolf
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