Album: London Chamber Orchestra, Ravel/Fauré/Poulenc/Ibert (Signum Classics)
Friday 12 August 2011
Sometimes, music requires more than merely combined star power to make it work, as Watch the Throne, the eagerly-awaited alliance between Jay-Z and Kanye West, seems to confirm.
The latest of the LCO Live series offers an engaging and varied programme of French Romanticism combining the well-known (Ravel's "Pavane pour une infante défunte" and Faure's "Pavane") with more abstruse pieces such as Ravel's giddily involving but graceful tribute to his predecessor, "Le Tombeau de Couperin", and Jacques Ibert's six-part suite "Divertissement", as gaudy and brashly-coloured as a cheap tablecloth in a seafront bistro. The centrepiece of the programme is Poulenc's "Piano Concerto", the opening section of which alone seems to incorporate more disparate styles than most composers cover in a career.
DOWNLOAD THIS: Le Tombeau de Couperin; Piano Concerto; Divertissement
Album: ALICE SARA OTT, Beethoven (Deutsche Grammophon)
Alice Sara Ott's follow-up to last year's remarkable studies of Chopin, Liszt and Tchaikovsky finds the gifted young pianist taking on Beethoven's two C-major sonatas, with a mature reading of the "Waldstein" preceded by an equally impressive take on the less frequently performed No 3 Sonata. It's this latter which provides the more gripping ride, from the dashing brilliance of the Allegro con brio first movement before negotiating the sudden thrust in a more melancholy direction in the Adagio. Finally, the rolling cadences of the concluding Allegro assai capture Ott's youthful spirit at its most attractively coltish.
DOWNLOAD THIS: Piano Sonata No 3 in C major; Piano Sonata No 21 in C major, "Waldstein"
Album: LUCA FRANCESCONI, Ballata (Stradivarius)
The subject matter of Ballata, an opera based on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, plays to Francesconi's strengths, notably the affinity for extremes of experience that he shares with the Romantic poets (he might just as readily have turned his hand to a setting of Wordsworth's "The Prelude", in which nature looms as implacably as it does over Coleridge's hapless Mariner). But it's the nihilistic resolve of the undertaking that most impresses: Francesconi is resolute in his large-scale realisation of the despairing Mariner's humiliation by the quixotic spirit of Life-in-Death, and of Death's utter disinterest in his victims. And, as might be expected of a pupil of Berio and Stockhausen, he wields a terrifying sonic palette. Not for the faint-hearted.
DOWNLOAD THIS: Ballata
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 5 Baby rescued 1km out to sea after parents forgot about her
Bad luck, One Direction: Paul McCartney doubts success of The Beatles will ever be matched again
This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
The Crystal Maze: Richard O’Brien confirmed to return as more details revealed about show's rebooted format
James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
Guillaume Tell's gang-rape scene caused uproar at the Royal Opera House – but the portrayal of extreme sex and violence on stage is nothing new
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture