Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Mahler symphony 6 Nott


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 


Buy through MusicWeb for £12.50 postage paid World-wide.

 

Musicweb Purchase button

 

Face to Face
Stephen PLEWS (b. 1961)
The Future of an Illusion [18:11]
Geoffrey KIMPTON (b. 1927)
Concerto for Violin and Chamber Orchestra (2000)a [23:02]
Kevin MALONE (b. 1958)
Eighteen Minutes (2002)b [19:42]
Andy Long (violin)a; David Heyes; Dan Styffe (double bass)b;
New World Ensemble/Alan Cuckston, Kevin Malone
rec. United Reformed Church, Macclesfield, May 2006
CAMPION CAMEO 2049 [62:55]

Experience Classicsonline

Hubert Culot's review elsewhere on these pages had me eager with anticipation, having described the slow movement of Stephen Plews' The Future of an Illusion as "one of the most moving musical elegies that I have ever heard." Having heard some of his other compositions, I was less surprised than I might have been by the colourful jazz chords which punctuate the first movement of this piece, which in some ways can be heard as a highly extended prelude to that central elegy. Indeed, the entire piece has an intended chronological pathway - that of "an existential biography of an imaginary soul, from birth to death through a terminal illness." I can't say I was particularly moved by the work, even with this added associational narrative. While the idea of 'a life' in music is an interesting one, my mind tends to jump around too much, asking if, in fact, it was an imaginary life worth living - so much melancholy, so little solid engagement with worldly emotions - too much self-involved moping around. It might have been more convincing if the more energetic material had appeared as the central movement, the 'elegy' being representative of the final resignation of old age and spiritual discovery. This might have worked, in place of the more imposed 'Possibility of hope' aspect we're encouraged to hear in the music. Don't get me wrong, I don't actively dislike this piece, but I do believe programmatic content of an existential nature has either to be dealt with on a different plane, or preferably be left to the listener's imagination.

The solo violin really has very little to do in The Future of an Illusion, but opens Geoffrey Kimpton's Concerto for Violin and Chamber Orchestra with a fine solo cadenza. Inspired by the poems of Kathleen Raine, this is another work with at least some extra-musical associations, and these the composer hints at through the titles of each movement, unfortunately not given in the booklet or liner. Like Plews, Kimpton's idiom is essentially romantic, though while his language is less involved with lush added notes both works seem to share a stop-start difficulty with really getting 'off the ground' in some way. There are some cinematic, illustrative passages which clearly have some programmatic content, but nothing hangs around long enough to develop into a 'big tune', or something upon which you can hang your hat and say, 'ah, this is good.' But, I hear you say, Janacek did similar things and he's one of your favourite composers. Yes, I answer, but with a rhythmic verve and quirkiness of language which plants other worlds onto your psyche like a rich but itchy robe, rather than just occasionally wafting it in your general direction like an incense stick hidden at the back of an exotic restaurant. Much of this piece is like a pleasant walk in a well manicured rose garden: a lovely experience with one or two prickles, but essentially something which is no more likely to remain with you in the longer term than the bus ride home afterwards.

Kevin Malone's Eighteen Minutes comes in at 19:42 in this recording, highlighting the risks of giving works durational titles, unless it's 4:33. In fact, the piece is a dramatic commentary on the events of September 11th 2001, with the vocal patterns of some of the recorded statements of witnesses at the time. To labour a reference, Janacek was one to use the rhythms of voices and language in his work, but in this case I was reminded more of Steve Reich's work in this area, though his voices tend to appear as explicit samples as well as musical shapes. Literal references like the wails of sirens appear, and the double-bass has an extended solo closely following the rise and fall of voice patterns. A quote from Tchaikovsky's 'Elegy for Strings' is cleverly incorporated, and while some of the more heart-on-sleeve musical statements can sit a little less easily against some of those of a more powerful origin this is a fair technique to be applied - especially when those melodies are strained through the unnatural and always uneasy 'singing voice' of the double-bass. From Penderecki's Threnody to Bartók's Divertimento and many others, the string orchestra seems eminently suited to expressing human anguish and emotion. While as previously mentioned, Malone's work has more of the strange disembodiment of Different Trains than the sheer jaw-grinding grip of something like Martinü's Double Concerto, it is in my opinion very much the strongest piece on this disc.

The New World Ensemble plays well enough in these pieces, maintaining an intimate, chamber-music feel to the music, more often than not bringing off some of the more tricky corners and keeping intonation as tight as can be with reduced forces of strings. Andy Long's solo violin is very capable, and the recorded balance is good, if not, I suspect, entirely free of a little acoustic manipulation somewhere along the line. Double-bass intonation is always a hit and miss affair when it comes to solos, but both David Heyes and Dan Styffe do very well with the speech-pattern shapes of Eighteen Minutes. If you are looking to go beyond the well beaten paths of more commonly recorded material than this is an interesting cul-de-sac to delve into: I doubt much of it will be appearing anywhere else soon.

Dominy Clements

see also review by Hubert Culot


 

 

 

 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.