This entertaining CD takes its name from a cantata, which forms one part of this recital devoted to the music of Georg Benda (1722-95), one of a distinguished family of Bohemian musicians who settled in Berlin in the 18th century and became part of the German enlightenment. Georg became Kapellmeister at Gotha in 1750 and gained widespread approval for his compositions and for his skill as a violinist, oboist and keyboard player. Mozart admired Benda’s music and carried two of his melodramas with him on his travels. Hyperion have put together a pretty record containing piano pieces (played here expertly on the fortepiano by Timothy Roberts), lieder and the above cantata for soprano or tenor by two of our best ‘chamber singers’ (which does not mean that they do not sing other genres, only that they excel in this kind of intimate sphere). It might be a good idea not to play the whole hour of music at one go but (say) to have half before dinner and half afterwards.
Argentinean Alberto Ginastera was among the most successful mid-twentieth century composers in retaining the populist accessibility of his early works while incorporating elements of serialism as his style developed. His later works may not have the hummable melodies or propulsive rhythmic drive of his early period, but they have a comparable dramatic logic and emotional directness, which give them an immediate appeal. His two cello concertos, written in 1968 and 1981, are clearly "modernist" works of his late period, but they are warmly lyrical, intensely dramatic, and orchestrated with intriguing inventiveness. In their slow sections, they are also prime examples of the mysterious, gorgeously evocative atmospherics of which Ginastera was a master throughout his career.
Finnish trumpeter/composer Verneri Pohjola comes from a well-established family of jazz musicians: both his father, famed bassist Pekka Pohjola, and his younger brother, trombonist Ilmari, join him here. Pohjola was voted Musician Of The Year by Finnish jazz critics in 2004, but Aurora is his debut as leader. This is a work of immense beauty which benefits not only from Pahjola's expressive trumpet playing and writing, but also from exceptional musicianship from every single one of its 15 players.