Classical: New Releases
Friday 24 September 2010
Pierre Boulez, Christian Tetzlaff, Wiener Philharmoniker
Song of the Night: Szymanowski
Pierre Boulez's first recording of Karol Szymanowski is a magical affair, pairing the Symphony No 3 ("Song of the Night"), with the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No 1. The latter is very well rendered, the gossamer thread of Christian Tetzlaff's violin drawing us inexorably into the haunted heart of the piece. There's an element of super-natural possession about the work, which is echoed on a larger scale in the Symphony No 3, where the tenor Steve Davislim and a full chorus anchor the fantastical orchestrations with grav- itas. Based on a setting of a text by the poet Jalaladdin Rumi, it's a Symphonie Fantastique for the 20th century.
DOWNLOAD THIS Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No 1; Symphony No 3
Margaret Leng Tan
She Herself Alone: The Art of the Toy Piano 2
The toy piano – essentially a glockenspiel keyed with plastic hammers – has a limited sonic appeal, which Margaret Leng Tan exploits to the fullest here in works by Cage, Crumb, Griswold and others. Of particular interest are pieces in which it's joined by other instruments: Eric Griswold's six-part suite "Old MacDonald's Yellow Submarine" uses prepared piano and toy piano to create a gentle gamelan feel, Laura Liben's "She Herself Alone" combines it with the Oriental tang of toy psaltery, while Ross Bolleter's "Hymn to Ruin" profitably exploits the toy piano in the context of the composer's fascination with "ruined" pianos.
DOWNLOAD THIS An American in Buenos Aires; She Herself Alone; Hymn to Ruin
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
A new recording of Pictures at an Exhibition is cleverly programmed here alongside works from Debussy and Liszt which enrich one's appreciation of it. In the opening bars of Sposalizio, one of three Liszt depictions of Italian scenes included here, can be discerned forward echoes of Mussorgsky's Promenade motif, while Debussy's Estampes offer a trio of complementary visual treats on Oriental, Spanish and bucolic themes. Williams's touch throughout is subtle but assuredly dramatic, shifting between the various Pictures confidently: the crucial aspect-shift in which the viewer is lured into the skull-strewn catacombs in "Cum mortuis in lingua mortua" allows the sombre mood to linger.
DOWNLOAD THIS Pictures at an Exhibition; Sposalizio; Estampes
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
- 5 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
Fifty Shades of Grey movie: New picture of Anastasia Steele unveiled
Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
Cilla, ITV - TV review: No wonder Cilla's chuffed with this story of her life – even the Beatles take a back seat
Doctor Who, Listen, review: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode
Tyler, The Creator says having new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was 'like waking up with herpes'
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke