Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Goyana - four sketches for piano, percussion and strings (1960) 12.33
Charm Bracelet (1949/90) 7.08
Sinfonietta for strings and timpani (1955) 22.13
Tristan and Isolde - Love Music for violin and piano (1947) 6.16
Introduction and Scherzo for cello and orchestra (1954) 4.00
Auld Lang Syne Variations for strings, violin and piano (1947) 13.51
Roumanian Rhapsody No. 1 for violin and orchestra (1947) 2.31
Carmen Fantasie for trumpet and orchestra (1947/90) 11.30.
Cristina Ortiz (piano) Roxan Jurkevich (timpani) Mark Kaplan (violin) Vincent Ellegiers (cello) Rodney Mack (trumpet)
Orquesta Simfònica de Barcelona í Nacional de Catalunya/Lawrence Foster
Amazon UK

This is a de-luxe production sampling Waxman's smaller-scale concert music. John Waxman's notes are thorough, the booklet is well illustrated, the artists are seemingly utterly convinced.

The financial liberty offered by working for the big studios left the way clear for Waxman to pursue concert music as well as film scores. His contacts in the Californian 'blue-skies' world brought him into contact with Heifetz and the cream of West Coast artistic society. Many of his pieces are linked with artists from that milieu. One can only hope that, in the not too distant future, someone will record his large-scale choral/orchestral cantata, Joshua.

Goyana is tartly flavoured, Bartokian, tender and, in its Miracle of St Anthony movement, in debt to the expectant bells of de Falla's El Amor Brujo. The stinging drive of The Witches Sabbath carries over into the handsome brusquely arching athleticism of the Sinfonietta from five years previous. The 'pocket' Introduction and Scherzo is neatly despatched by Ellegiers with rasping panache.

The Charm Bracelet suite is a concise five-panel jaunt touching on Stravinskian neo-classicism, Shostakovich's grim humour and Iberian nocturnes. The Auld Lang Syne Variations parody Mozart, Beethoven (Moonlight Sonata counterpointing the subject tune), Bach and Shostakovich (references to Symphony No. 1). Kaplan and Ortiz give the Love Music (from the Act II Love Duet in Tristan) every sentimental droplet without collapsing into excess.

Waxman and Kaplan round on Enescu in the Roumanian brevity - breezy, hoarse, striking sparks and not afraid to grasp the cliché. Speaking of which the Alexander Markovich arrangement of the Carmen violin 'vehicle' is not out of place in this company. It flutters, sways, seduces and oils its virtuosic legato way through the instantly recognisable Bizet tunes. I was aware one or twice that this might not be the easiest music for the solo trumpet. Trumpet buffs need to hear this.

An easy recommendation for the work of the tougher and the softer Waxman.

Rob Barnett

See also review by Ian Lace

Reviews from previous months

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