REICH: Duet for Two Solo Violins and String Ortchestra. Clapping
Music. The Four Seasons. Daniel Variations. You Are (Variations).
TISCHENKO: Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Orchestra.
Symphony No. 8 (2008). Three Songs to Poems of Marina Tsvetayeva (version
for chamber orchestra by Leonid Rezetdinov (1970 / 2014).
SCHULLER: Concerto No. 2 for Contrabass Tuba and Symphony Orchestra.
STOCKHAUSEN: Harmonien. WILSON: Concerto for Tuba and Wind Ensemble.
LANG: Are You Experienced? (for electric tuba, narrator, and chamber
STRAVINSKY: The Firebird. NIKOLAEV: The Sinewaveland - Homage to Jimi
Steve Reich (b. 1936) has a huge following, and nuch of his music has been recorded, some reviewed on this site. Now we have this new release which celebrates the composer's 80th birthday. In CD notes, Reich praises the efforts of all performers involved in this project. He has a close association with Kristjan Järvi (the younger of Neemi Järvi's two sons), who currently is chief conductor of the NDR Symphony Orchestra. The Duet, Clapping Hands,and The Four Seasons were recorded live in Leipzig's Gewandhaus May 2/3, 2014 before an enthusiastically appreciative audience. Duet was written for Yehudi Menuhin to celebrate his 80th birthday. The Four Seasons has nothing to do with Vivaldi, and has four movements: Strings, Percussion, Winds & Brass, and Full Orchestra.Clapping Hands, written in 1974, creates "music" with only the human body, and consists of 13 bars, each repeated 12 times but constantly changing along the way, with dramatic rhythmic changes It surely is an odd piece. The second CD contains premiere recordings of orchestral versions of Daniel Variations and You Are (Variations). 2014 and 2016 in MDR Rejrearsa; Hall in Leipzig. We can be certain these performances are exactly what Reich wanted, and audio quality is superb. This music requires two disks, but they sell for the price of one. An important issue!
About a decade ago, this site featured a review by About a decade ago, this site featured a review by S.G.S. of Boris Tischenko's large-scale Yaroslavna and Symphony No. 3 (REVIEW). Now we have another disk of music of this unjustly neglected major Russian composer, this one offering the world premiere recording of his 2008 Symphony No. 8, and two other recent works, a Concerto for Violin, Piano and Strings, and three songs in a version for mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra, also a premiere. The four-movement concerto is a welcome addition to the repertory, the three brief songs of equal interest. Symphony No. 8 is a strange piece that supposedly is intended to follow a performance of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, and makes reference to it, although all I could find was a pizzicato bass section rather similar to the opening of Schubert's second movement. Performances throughout are excellent and the recordings, made in St. Petersburg Radio House iun June 2015, are excellent. This is an important issue..
Aaron Tindall is a master of the tuba and over the last decade has won many prizes and performed with many orchestras both as principal tube and as a solo artist. He even has designed a new Ultra Range AT Signature series tuba mouthpiece. His incredible le virtuosity is displayed on this new CD w which opens with standard works by Schuller and Stockhausen. Then we have Dana Wilson's Concerto for Tuba and Wind Ensemble composed in 2013and dedicated to Tindall. It is a delightful work, with a jazzy final movement, and a real challenge for the soloist. The final work is odd. Written 1987-1989 on a commission from the NEA, it is a six-movement work for electric tuba, narrator, and chamber orchestra named after the title song of Jimi Hendrix's debut album in 1967. Steven Stucky is narrator in four sections. The text is nonsensical, the music dissonant and unmemorable. I found little of merit in this work; you, perhaps, will like it. The disk is worth owning just for the three other works. Excellent audio.You can see Tindall; playing some of this music on YouTube.
The Seattle Symphony's latest issue contains music of two Russian composers: Igor Stravinsky (the complete Firebird), and Vladimir Nikolaev (The Sinewaveland). This is the original 1910 version of Firebird, with its rich orchestration, and it is given an erxcellent performance. However, competition is incredibly fierce. Nikolaev, born in 1953, is respected in the electronic music world, but his music seems to have limited appeal. During his youth while a student he was fascinated by music of Jimi Hendrix, who is from Seattle. Perhaps that is why the Seattle SO commissioned Nikolaev to write The Sinewaveland which is a brief (11:54) work described as “an image of Hendrix atop Bald Mountain, lighting his guitar on fire." It is highly dissonant, and I would be surprised if it is performed outside Seattle. It surely adds nothing positive to this release. Fortunately this is a budget issue.
R.E.B. (January 2017)