One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

TROUBADISC

colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti


Guillaume LEKEU


Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website



Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases


Superior performance


Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons
Notable


Verdi Requiem Thielemann


Marianna Henriksson
An outstanding recital


Arnold Bax
Be converted


this terrific disc


John Buckley
one of my major discoveries


François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3

........................................

Bryden Thomson


Symphonies


Vaughan Williams Concertos


RVW Orchestral

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this from
Tigran MANSURIAN (b. 1939)
Double Concerto (1978) [22:47]
Romance (2011)* [9:24]
Quasi parlando (2012)** [8:00]
Concerto No. 2 “Four Serious Songs” (2006)* [22:23]
Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin)*; Anja Lechner (cello)**
Amsterdam Sinfonietta/Candida Thompson (lead violin)
rec. October 2012, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam
ECM NEW SERIES 2323 [62:34]

ECM’s championing of the work of Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian continues. The last one I came across was Ars Poetica (see review), and MWI has also covered Monodia, and his String Quartets. This release comes just after the composer’s 75th birthday and with most of the works performed by their dedicatees. The Amsterdam Sinfonietta directed by Candida Thompson is more familiar from the Channel Classics label, their Mahler and Brahms/Schönberg albums being both very fine indeed.
 
The oldest work here, the Double Concerto opens the program, its two movements a mixture of transparent serenity and ‘fiercely-concentrated’ interactions. None of these works is easily summed up in a few sentences. Mansurian’s idiom is abstract without being over-intellectual, complex without losing sight of the essence of emotional content and the desire to communicate a message which is both memorable and ‘useful’, in the sense that it is accessible to our common pool of musico-linguistic markers. The booklet notes link this work with the last work in the programme, Concerto No. 2 “Four Serious Songs”, remarking on development and change in style while sharing common ground in terms of “a characteristic sound”. These common elements are indeed “an immediacy of expression and a rigorous creative will that admits nothing superficial or inconsequential”. There is a self-contained, perhaps introvert quality to these pieces which goes against the more expected nature of a concerto. Bravura display is non-essential; technical demands are in the service of a bigger picture, and the relationship between soloist and orchestra is more often than not collaborative and confiding. There is an Allegro vivace movement in the Concerto No. 2, a violin cadenza of just over a minute, but even this is a piece which is constantly reflecting in itself, its gentler character taken on by the upper strings of the orchestra as the final, at times truly beautiful and at times confrontational molto semplice movement unfolds.
 
The two concertos are separated by two more recent works. The Romance is more overtly connected to the archaic folk-songs of Mansurian’s Armenian past, with yearning melody from the violin soloist growing into passionate climax, keeping up a narrative subtext while expressing the essence of the piece’s title. For cello and string orchestra, Quasi parlando turns this duality in its head, the rhetoric of the soloist more fragmented while still eloquent; the accompaniment creating vignette-like atmospheres rather than the more expansive harmonies of Romance.
 
Superbly performed and recorded, this is another feather in ECM’s already verdant cap, with première recordings of some magnificent and significant works. It’s always tempting to say ‘this is a good place to start’ if you are new to a composer’s work, but with the gorgeous sound of the Amsterdam Sinfonietta to enjoy in its element at the Muziekgebouw’s superb main hall, and the recognisable context of soloist(s) and string orchestra, this is an attractive and rewarding port of call for initiates and experts alike.
 
Dominy Clements