One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Founding Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

/


Leticia Gómez-Tagle (piano)


Scherber Symphony 2
SPECIAL OFFER £10


Respighi Piano Music
SPECIAL OFFER £10


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Edgar Allan POE (1809-1849)
The Raven (1845) [14:46]
Toshio HOSOKAWA (b. 1955)
The Raven - monodrama for mezzo and twelve players (2011-12) [46:04]
Charlotte Hellekant (mezzo and narrator)
United Instruments of Lucilin (André Pons-Valdès (violin); Tomoko Kiba (violin); Danielle Hennicot (viola); Christophe Beau (cello); Jean-Daniel Hégé (double bass); Sophie Deshayes (flutes); Nozomi Ueda (clarinets); Olivier Sliepen (saxophones); Philippe Ranallo (trumpet); Claude Origer (trombone); Pascal Meyer (piano); Guy Frisch (percussion))/Kentaro Kawase
rec. Aster Plaza Hall, Hiroshima; 29 & 31 October 2014
NAXOS 8.573724 [60:50]

We need to be sure about what is on offer from this CD. You get 15 minutes of the Swedish mezzo reading Poe's famous poem in vivid atmospheric style - it's not a penny-plain reading. After this comes the Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa's setting of the same poem, part narrated and part sung by Hellekant, the dedicatee of The Raven. The latter is termed a 'monodrama'. It's a freewheeling piece heard here in a single 46-minute track. This is a pity as the music would have lent itself to a more accommodating artistic learning and listening experience if it had been subdivided.

Hellekant is well known in the worlds of art-song, orchestral song and opera. I immediately think of her roles in Nystroem's Sinfonia del Mare and Sibelius's Kullervo. There's an uncloying openness about her voice and she has a memorably intelligent and emotional way of projecting words, mood and meaning. Her delivery as narrator of the poem is intimate, close to the ear, invading the listener's space in an agreeable way. Her speaking voice reminds me of that of the actress Juliet Stevenson. She is very creative with the presentation and shading of the words. Phrases creep out word by word or in a frictionless rush. Resignation, despair and wan passion are all intimately immediate.

Much the same applies to the Hosokawa setting which presents a volatile world of towering power and danger. The music is lapidary, open of texture, brimming with turbulent detail. The musical elements are occasionally dissonant and the twelve instruments contribute with unusual techniques. The wind instruments in particular are called on to make breathy huffing noises and groans as well as more conventional sounds. Hellekant speaks and sings, encompassing mental disturbance, lassitude, anxiety and emotional accelerant. Every detail feels commandingly delivered. The monodrama was recorded in the presence of the composer.

This disc joins two Hosokawa discs on this label: Vol. 1 (Horn Concerto / Lotus under the Moonlight / Chant - Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Jun Märkl 8.573239) and Vol. 2 (Woven Dreams / Blossoming II / Circulating Ocean (Märkl) 8.573276) and his flute music which is reviewed here. These in turn contribute to a well furnished Japanese classical music library on Naxos: Ifukube, Akutagawa, Abe, Matsudaira, Ohguri, Yamada, Mayuzumi, Hashimoto (review review), Moroi, Yashiro and Hayasaka. There's even a Japanese Orchestral Favourites album.

The booklet notes are by the composer and are in English. He mentions the shamanic element he finds in women protagonists in his music and finds in them an agency to link the temporal and spiritual worlds. While lacking female characters this score suggests that Hosokawa might well find much of musical value in Poe's extended chimeric tale, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.

Hosokawa, Poe and Hellekant share the headlines here and not necessarily in that order.

Rob Barnett

 

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical

 

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Arcodiva
Atoll 10% off
CDAccord
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Hortus
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sheva £2 off
Sheva Contemporary
Sterling 10% off
Toccata Classics


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
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger