VIOLET ARCHER (1913-2000): Piano Concerto No. 1 (CBC Vancouver Orchestra; John Eliot Gardiner), ALEXINA LOUIE (b.1949): Piano Concerto (National Arts Centre Orchestra; Alex Pauk), LARYSA KUZMENKO (b.1956): Piano Concerto (Toronto Symphony Orchestra; Jukka-Pekka Saraste).
Catalogue Number: 05L093
Reference: CMCCD 15610
Description: Louie's concerto is a substantial, three-movement specimen, with a robust, muscular first movement with a contrasting tranquil but uneasy middle section, the somewhat Prokofiev-like solo piano part active throughout. The second movement is sonorous, with glittering impressionistic sounds and Ravelian color to the piano writing, while the finale is a lively glittering extension of the coloristic sound-world of the slow movement. The language is confined to a relatively conservative but unmistakably 20th-century idiom, with some unusual and inventive touches of orchestration lending a distinctly individual character to the sound of the piece. Archer's 1956 work is lively, affable and neo-classical, with a tenderly expressive middle movement, rather reminiscent of Shostakovich its plaintive, continuously evolving melodic lines. This is framed by a propulsive first movement and a vigorous finale. Kuzmenko's idiom is also tonal, and once the first movement of the concerto gets going, also very reminiscent of Shostakovich. The second movement is a set of variations, with great textural variety in the orchestration, and the finale, an energetic toccata. Christina Petrowska Quilico (piano).