Listening to a work of Armenian-American composer Alan Hovhaness, you recognize his characteristic style in a few measures. His music is often broadly expansive, painting sonorous landscapes that often use brass instruments to blend with and accentuate the strings. Also, while his peers experimented with serialism or highly intellectually challenging styles, Hovhaness maintained his world music-infused neo-Romantic style throughout his life. The result is an enormous body of work that are all a joy to listen to.
Gérard Lesne has already given us some glorious music by largely forgotten composers such as Galuppi and Jommelli. Now he’s turned to Hasse, little-known in this year of his tercentenary but renowned in the 1700s for his operas and oratorios. A German-born composer of Italianate music, Hasse’s work exemplifies the stylistic transition from late Baroque through galant to early Viennese classicism. His 1742 sacred oratorio I pellegrini al sepolcro di Nostro Signore (The Pilgrims at the Tomb of Our Lord) is operatic in style, its succession of busy, inventive da capo arias impressively sung here by Lesne and his team, though Il Seminario Musicale’s strings can sound dry.
Gerard were one of the leading progressive rock bands from the '80 in Japan together with Novela, Fromage, Pale Acute Moon, Outer Limits or Mugen. They offer a quite good symphonic prog very much in vein of UK or a harder version of Genesis (Trick of the tail era) but with their own twist and with that particular japanese flavour , musicaly speaking that many bands from '80 from this country had…
Arthur Sullivan always wanted to be known more as a serious composer than one of comic opera, and his Symphony in E minor ("Irish") and his grand opera Ivanhoe, immensely popular in its own time, have been revived in recent decades. The same cannot be said of his songs, which are all but unknown except for The Lost Chord. That chestnut is not even included on this expansive two-disc survey, a highly worthwhile look into Sullivan the song composer.