ROBERT JANSSENS (b.1939): Concertino for Clarinet and Orchestra (Ronald Van Spaendonck [clarinet], Ensemble Symphonique de Bruxelles; Robert Janssens), Horn Concertos No. 1 and No. 2 (Frances Orval [horn], ES de B, NOS de la RTBF; Janssens), Violin Concerto No. 2 "Life" (André Siwy [violin], Brussels Festival Orchestra; Janssens), Bassoon Concerto (Hugues Kesteman [bassoon], Orchestre Royal des Guides; Nobert Nozy).
Catalogue Number: 05J098
Reference: ADW 7519
Description: Like the chamber works we offered in March, these five attractive concerti are readily accessible, tonal works, idiomatically written for their instruments, and finely crafted. All are succinct, yet achieving ample expressiveness within a 10 - 15 minute span, and all are cast in a conventional fast-slow-fast form, apart from the most recent, the violin concerto. This concerto, with some tonally indeterminate effects, is the most deliberately modern sounding of the works here, though the bulk of the piece remains firmly in a mid-century post-romantic idiom, somewhat Bartókian, with a bitonal bite but nowhere near atonality. The slow movements of all the other concerti (the violin concerto doesn't really have one) share a wistful, freely rhapsodic quality, while the finales have a bouncy, neoclassical quality in the Prokofiev Classical Symphony sense. Elsewhere, elements of humorous parody, like the mock-military march of the bassoon concerto's opening, with the soloist out of step and character throughout, or the last movement of the first horn concerto, have something of Shostakovich about them. A nicely varied group of pieces from the pen of a versatile and original composer.