Monday, 1 February 2010

January CD Reviews: An Eclectic Selection

As most readers of my ‘blog’ will know my main area of interest is in British music. Yet it would be wrong to suppose that I am a Little-Englander when it comes to my musical tastes. When I play my piano it is more often Bach, Haydn and Grieg that I ‘hack’ through. I have a great love of Scandinavian composers, and those from the United States. But all that is for another post perhaps.
My latest selection of review copies to arrive from MusicWeb International includes only one British CD – but what a disc! This is the new Chandos release in their on-going series of music by Cyril Scott. This present CD includes the Piano Trio No.1 from 1920 and its stable mate, Trio No.2 composed some thirty-one years later. The great Clarinet Quintet from 1951 (revised 1953) is also included along with the earlier Clarinet Trio. Lastly, this excellent release is completed with a short work for violin, cello and piano – Cornish Boat Song.

It is not often that I review DVDs but this month I have a Naxos Musical Journey Disc – with superb townscapes of the Eternal City. The music used to accompany this visual tour of Rome are the two Piano Concertos and Totentanz from the pen of Franz Liszt. It is really a musical picture post card and certainly is a must for anyone who knows and loves this great Italian city.

Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) is an Argentine composer whose name is not that well known in the United Kingdom. However Naxos has been producing quite a few CDs of his music over the years. The present CD includes the colourful Glosses on Themes of Pablo Casals in both the original version for String Quintet & String Orchestra Op.46 (1976) and the revised edition for full orchestra Op.48 (1977). Both are stunning works. Coupled with this is the Variaciones concertantes, Op. 23 (1953). These are pieces that are a fusion of modern twentieth century music with Argentine folk elements.

My final review copy is a CD of piano music played by Ana Vega-Toscano. This is a part of Columna Musica’s series that has been devised around the works of Don Quixote. This interesting CD includes works by Eduardo Martinez Torner (1888-1955), Ernesto Halffter (1905-1989), Roberto Gerhard (1896-1957) and Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957). It is a treat for all enthusiasts of piano music and of Cervantes great novel.

All these CDs will be reviewed and will hopefully appear on MusicWeb International over the coming few weeks.

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