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Vocal Music

A Dutch Treat

Etcetera KTC1326

Johan Wagenaar

Sinfonietta, Op. 32
Aveux de Phèdre, Op. 41 1
Symphonic Poem "Levenszomer", Op. 21
Symphonic Poem "Elverhöi", Op. 48
Overture "De Philosophische Prinses", Op. 39
Larghetto for Oboe & Orchestra, Op. 40 2

1 Janny Zommer, soprano
2 Ingrid Nissen, oboe
Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra/Eri Klas
Etcetera KTC1326 74:32

A varied program of music by a Dutch composer who wrote in many forms in loosely late Romantic style. Some may know Elverhöi (Elf Hill) from music by several other composers, notably Gade. All the music, written 1903-1939, is played with considerable panache. A byway well worth exploring.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - ]

To The Memory of FDR

EMI 86101

Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Symphony in F Sharp Major, Op. 40 (1952)
Six Simple Songs

Barbara Hendricks, soprano
The Philadelphia Orchestra/Franz Welser -Möst
EMI Encore 86101

Dedicated to the memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Korngold's Symphony Op. 40 is a link in a musical chain reaching from Richard Strauss and Mahler to the film music of John Williams.

In listening to Op. 40, the film buff might notice quotes from Korngold's scores to the films "Juarez", (second movement); "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex", "Captain Blood", "Anthony Adverse," (third movement); and in the fourth movement – themes from King's Row. The music is exciting and spacious, and the Philadelphia Orchestra is in top form.

The songs will greatly please people who enjoy the lieder of Mahler and R. Strauss. Barbara Hendricks has a clean, strong voice particularly well-suited to this beautiful material.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - ]

A Czech Anthology

Supraphon 3944

Ilja Hurnik (b.1922)
Four Seasons-Chamber Suite (1952)
Ondráš-Ballet Music (1951)

Jan Kapr (1914-1988)
In the Soviet Country-Cantata (1950) 3

Julius Kalaš (1902-1967)
The Nightingale and the Rose (1956)

Viktor Kalabis (1923-2006)
Violin Concerto #1 (1958-59) 4

Jan Seidel (1908-1998)
Oboe Concerto #2 (1955) 5

Ivan Jirko (1926-1978)
Piano Concerto #3 (1958) 6

Petr Eben (1929-2007)
Piano Concerto (1961) 7

Pavel Bořkovec (1894-1972)
Symphony #2 (1955)

Václav Dobiáš (1909-1978)
Build Up Your Country to Reinforce the Peace-Cantata (1947) 2

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)
The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (1946) 1

1 Eric Schilling, narrator
2 Jan Soumar, baritone
4 Václav Snítil, violin
5 Josef Shejbal, oboe
6 Viktorie Švihlíková, piano
7 František Rauch, piano
2 Prague Philharmonic Choir
2 Kühn Children's Choir
3 Prague Radio Choir
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Karel Ančerl
Supraphon SU3944-2 4CDs 258:17

Volume 43 of the Karel Ančerl Gold Edition apparently collects a number of short works left over from the mainly single-CD releases which make up the rest of the series. Apart from the Britten, the remaining works are by composers of what was then Czechoslovakia, Ančerl having left his homeland for Canada in 1968, the year of the Soviet suppression of the Prague Spring. This set gives an interesting insight into the sort of music being written during the fifteen or so years after the war.

Most of the music is upbeat, some even jaunty. The two vocal works remind me of such pieces as Prokofiev's Summer Day, but the words are best avoided! Of the concertos, the standout for me is the Kalabis, but all are worth getting to know. Some of the recordings are in mono but the transfers have been very well done. The set is attractively priced. Recommended for those who like to explore the byways of the byways.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

Like Another Mendelssohn

Dutton 7145

Francis Edward Bache

Piano Trio, Op. 25
Romance for Cello & Piano, Op. 21
Duo Brillante for Violin & Piano
Six Songs, Op. 16

Yvonne Howard, mezzo-soprano
The English Piano Trio
Dutton CDXL7145 64:29

Bache's melodies have the subtle beauty of a Schubert or Mendelssohn (or like those of his teacher, William Sterndale Bennett) and his piano parts at times flow into the "string of pearls" style of Bellini-inspired Chopin. This can be heard in the Trio during the accompaniments to re-statements of themes in the strings, especially in the second movement. It can also be heard in the first of the songs, and in the Duo. This is one of the most delightful and memorable features of Bache's compositions.

This is another "what-if" composer. He died at the age of 24.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music for the Piano Trio: Editions Silvertrust ]