BERNARD CAVANNA (b.1951): Shanghai Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra (Noëmi Schindler [violin], Emmanuelle Bertrand [cello], Peter Rundel [conductor]), 3 Strophes sur le nom de Patrice Emery Lumumba for Viola and Ensemble (Hélène Desaint [viola], Pierre Roullier [conductor]), Karl Koop Konzert for Accordion and Orchestra (Pascal Contet [accordion], Grant Llewellyn [conductor]).
Catalogue Number: 04M086
Reference: AECD 1104
Description: Cavanna appears to revel in the role of iconoclast, rejoicing in subverting tradition with his unusual instrumentation choices (and the obsessive inclusion of the accordion in just about everything), and an expressive vocabulary grounded in tonality but with all manner of other styles mixed in, apparently because it seemed like a good idea at the time. The Shanghai Concerto is a good example; the first movement is very tonal and motorically driven, but the second introduces Chinese melody and fragments of 'found' material from other traditions, and is much less tonal. The third is a vigorous accompanied cadenza for the soloists, and the finale, with some remarkable and unconventional sonorities produced by very unusual instrumentation, pays tribute to the composer Aurèle Stroë, an early influence on Cavanna. Three Strophes commemorates a politician central to independence in the Congo, and are based on a musical monogram derived from his name. An obsessive ticking, like Morse code, propels the uneasy, fragmented music forward. Karl Koop was the composer's grandfather, who taught himself the folk accordion during WWI, and the lively concerto, featuring this deliberately rustic instrument is a tribute to him. The piece has an irresistible momentum and rejoices in nasal vulgarity from the orchestra (which includes bagpipes!) as well as the soloist, making idiomatic use of the chord structures dictated by the instrument's particular construction. The result is a splendid concertante burlesque, nothing like as silly as you might think, and as timbrally inventive as any effusion of the orthodox avant garde. The bonus DVD, designated 'All zones' declines to play due to zoning restrictions on average U.S. DVD players (computers with appropriate software have no such problem). CD + DVD. Orchestre National de Lille, Ensemble 2e2m.