Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

Miklos RÓZSA
Tripartita (1972)
Morton GOULD
Folk Suite (1938)
Gian Carlo MENOTTI
 Triplo Concerto a Tre (1970)
Emek - symphonic poem (1936)
LSO/David Amos

In the early 1990s David Amos recorded collections of orchestral music including for Vienna Modern Masters. The composer names he chose were not the most obvious and the music tunefully out of step with received avant-garde values. The present varied garland was amongst the earliest issued as 'Volume 1 Modern Masters' on Harmonia Mundi HMU90 6010. It appeared during the summer of 1991. It still holds up very well as also does Amos's Hovhaness collection issued by Peter Christ's Crystal label.

Rózsa, blessedly affluent with Hollywood's film money, stayed faithful to his 'serious' muse producing this, his last piece of non-concertante concert music, in 1972. It is a great rarity. Even the Koch series has somehow skirted around Tripartita. I recall first encountering the work circa 1974 when Ashley Lawrence included it in an all-Rózsa studio broadcast on BBC Radio 3. The orchestra was the BBC Concert Orchestra. This was a sure sign that it had just squeezed into the Music Department by a hair's-breadth. The fact that it was broadcast mid-afternoon, if I recall correctly, further confirms that it was music contra torrentum so far as the BBC supremos were concerned. Some BBC staff producer had argued for it in committee and just 'snuck in' under a barrage of disdain. Later my BBC tape was replaced and out-pointed by an NPR tape (National SO, Washington/Dorati). The Amos recording with a patently top-flight orchestra on good form was and is the work's only commercial recording. Snap it up. Its recipe of cinema music technique, countryside visions and sourly mordant film noir tension shows a practised hand but one who has not slipped into nodding cruise control.

Morton Gould's 1938 three movement Folk Suite was written for the student orchestra of the High School of Music and Art in New York as was Copland's splendid Outdoor Overture. It avoids Gould's tendency to lapses in taste (not at all like the symphonettes, thank heavens!) and in the finale swerves into Malcolm Arnold territory. The idiom is American populist travelling the same route as Roy Harris's Fourth Symphony 'Folksong' with a touch of Ferde Grofé along the way.

The winningly eager grace of the Menotti is but lightly dusted with neo-classicism. Menotti's is candidly a sincere lyric talent intensified here by the jewelled shifts of perspective inherent in so much solo work flickering amongst violin, viola, cello, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, piano, harp and percussion. While the inspiration sags in the hearty Jig, overall this is work well worth getting to know.

Lavry (1903-1967), Latvian-born, after a spell in Germany (until 1935), made his career in Israel. He is little known. Emek has the stamping excitement of Bartok and the rural repose and poetry of Enescu. It was written in the first year after Lavry's emigration from Germany and was inspired by Emek Valley and the young Israeli pioneers who strove against nature to create a fertile valley from desert conditions. Bernstein made Emek the Israeli showcase during his first American tour with the Israel PO. While this is not the stuff to set the world alight it is bright, lyrical and generates some stamping excitement.

It is good to see this collection given a new lease by Kleos Classics. Notes are rudimentary but adequate and in any event I am not of the school that rates the presence of notes as make and break for a disc. The curious will always be able to find out what they need to know. Perhaps this springs from the fact that much of my musical education came from listening to radio and tapes taken from radio relays. I hope that Kleos will root out licences for other lamented deletions including the Prokofiev stage music from Saison Russe and Philharmonia Hungarica version of the Rosenberg Fourth Symphony.

Shake off the familiar with this lyrical torte of Middle European and American ingredients.

Rob Barnett

See also review by Gary Dalkin

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