CARL VOLLRATH (b.1931): Piano Concertos Nos. 1-3 (Pastels I, II and III).
Catalogue Number: 05R066
Label: Navona Records
Description: The composer compares these three modestly proportioned but full three-movement piano concerti to the habit of Impressionist and Post-Impressionistic painters of depicting the same location or landscape over and over again, to explore the different moods conjured by light, time of day, and the artists' own reaction to the scene. Thus the works are thematically related, with a programmatic idea of depicting an idyllic pastoral community of unspecified but diverse ethnicity going about its activities at different times of day, and the thoroughly tonal idiom is appropriately neo-impressionistic at heart. The term 'Pastels' refers to the blending technique employed in that medium, and this eclectic idiom certainly qualifies for the comparison; aside from the pervasive influence of Debussy, composers who celebrated their national musics - Grieg, Bartók, Tchaikovsky and many others are more or less explicitly evoked, and startling overt references to specific works - Le sacre for instance - appear out of nowhere, as well as fleeting references to non-western modes. The resulting mélange makes for agreeable, atmospheric, unchallenging listening. Karolina Rojahn (piano), Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra; Petr Vronsky.