Dieterich Buxtehude's organ works are his most significant contribution to the history of music. They consist of a comprehensive corpus of just 90 compositions, of which more than half are chorale settings. However, these are mostly shorter than the preludes, toccatas and other freely conceived pieces, so these last represent a more substantial share of his entire output.
The works included on this disc traverse an almost 25 year span of interest in writing for large vocal forces. Some of my largest works have been for choir—such as my St. Luke Magnificat or my Shoah Requiem—but on this disc the works, apart from my Missa Brevis, are for a cappella choir. Writing for a cappella choir is a very inspiring medium coupled, as it is, with text and language and the inherent timbral interest of varied vowel and percussive consonant sounds in the voice. The works, apart from Silence from my Two Looks at Silence, are all in Latin and owe more than a little to my background as a Catholic and Catholocism's traditional sacred liturgical literature. —Douglas Knehans.
Although Korngold’s ‘complete works for violin and piano’ make up a reasonably full disc, it is only fair to point out that the Violin Sonata is the single work that is not an arrangement from one of his other pieces. Yet this Sonata, written at the age of 15 for Carl Flesch and Artur Schnabel no less, is a fine example of his early style, with its echoes of Zemlinsky and early Schoenberg. The young Dutch violinist Sonja van Beek and German pianist Andreas Frölich negotiate its challenges with ease: as in Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata, the pianist has as tough a role as the melody instrument. Much Ado about Nothing is one of several arrangements of a suite of four movements derived from incidental music to Shakespeare’s play written in 1918, performed here with affection and a silken suavity. The remainder of the repertoire is made up of arrangements of Korngold lollipops, hit numbers from his operas, such as the unforgettable ‘Marietta’s Lied’ from Die tote Stadt, arranged by the composer as salon pieces and popularised by Kreisler and his ilk. Here, the almost vocal qualities of van Beek’s tone come into their own. An essential disc for the Korngold addict.
Following the Grammy nominated Volume 2 featuring the music of Fitelberg, the Canadian ARC Ensemble presents Volume 3 in its "Music in Exile" series, dedicated to the music of Szymon Laks. Born in Warsaw in 1901, Laks studied in Paris before being deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. He soon joined and conducted the Auschwitz orchestra (his auditioning with a 'Jewish' work - Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto - went unnoticed). Although the trauma of his imprisonment left him alienated and reclusive, few of his works refer specifically to the Holocaust.
Although the large box and the Sacred Works title might lead you to expect a complete collection of Tomás Luis de Victoria's sacred music, that's not what it is, and in fact some famous pieces, such as the Requiem in six parts, are not included. Instead, conductor Michael Noone lists the criteria for inclusion as follows: the collection focuses on works Victoria composed in Madrid, works that are preserved in manuscripts, works or versions of works that have never been recorded, and works involving an organ or winds, or written in sections that alternate with chant.
A well-educated child of privilege, Glinka became a fervent Russian nationalist. He is considered the father of Russian music, and exerted a significant influence on such great later composers as Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Stravinsky. One of Russia's ranking conductors of the new millennium, Vladimir Fedoseyev has worked extensively in Central Europe during the second phase of his career. As chief conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra since 1997, he has brought a new intensity to the city's often underrated second orchestra. During his years as chief conductor of the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, Fedoseyev gained a reputation for achieving a balance between passion and musical integrity.
Turina's take on Spanish folk idioms is unmatched, and showcased quite nicely on this CD. The "Danzas fantasticas" are the highlight, but the romantic flair of all the works on this recording is not to be missed. The orchestra is brilliant throughout, and the technical aspects of the recording are lacking nothing. Absolutely no complaints, only pure enjoyment. You can't go wrong with this one.