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Violin Concerto & Contrasting Movements.

Zurich Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Schweizer with Rafael Gintoli (violin)
Disques DOM 1442 [49 mins]

Here is a violin concerto to give a great deal of pleasure to collectors who enjoy those of, say, Bartok, Berg and Prokofiev No.1. I mention these just to give an orientation towards the sort of music that would seem to have been important during Alicia Terzian's musical development in her very early 20s, when this auspicious concerto was composed. She was born 1934 in Argentina of Armenian descent, and this concerto was completed in 1956 and premiered in 1969, since when it has had considerable international success, though not yet heard in UK. It deserves to be. Her musical studies embraced Armenian sacred music and the variations comprising the slow movement of this concerto are based upon an Armenian folk song. The finale too has an Eastern European flavour, more than anything Iberian or South American.

After two hearings, I would rate it highly as a rewarding concert work which is bound to please general audiences and not disappoint connoisseurs; well conceived with good built-in balance, mercifully not distorted in this very satisfactory recording. The orchestration is lively and holds the attention and the solo part properly combines virtuosity with lyricism, supplied to the full by the composer's fellow Argentinean, Rafael Gintoli.

Alicia Terzian has fulfilled this early promise by pursuing a varied career as founder/conductor of the Grupo Encuentros, which tours with programmes of tangos and avant-garde Latin American & Argentinean music and will be in UK early next year. I came across her at the ISCM World Music Days, which she attended as a representative of her country; she is also executive secretary of UNESCO's Council of the Music of the Three Americas. Her later music has embraced post-serialism, atonalism and microtonality, and she is interested in electronics too.

The orchestral pieces from the mid-60s on this CD are two, a dramatic Adagio elegaico followed by Allegro energico rondo with vivid and effective orchestration, the rhythms of which rely perhaps a little too much upon her studies with Ginastera?

The Zurich orchestra and its permanent conductor specialise in integrating rarities and contemporary music into normal concerts, and this is how Alicia Terzian, who does not strive for originality at all costs, prefers her own music to be programmed.

Peter Grahame Woolf

(Available through Disques Dom, 4 & 6, rue de Donjon, 943 Vincennes, or email enquiries to

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