KAROL BEFFA (b.1973): Concertos for Viola and Strings and for Harp and Strings, Dark for Piano and Strings, Nuit obscure for Voice and Strings, Dédale for String Orchestra and Harp ad lib., Rainbow for Piano and Strings.
Catalogue Number: 07R074
Description: This disc amply fulfils the promise suggested by the recordings of Beffa's Trumpet Concerto that we offered in February and April this year. These concertante works are those of a composer not afraid to extend the Classical-Romantic tradition into our own time with originality and a lack of irony or neo-anything. The Viola Concerto is in fact the composer's own transcription of that same concerto, arguably even more effective in this version, the melancholy contours of its modal melodic material emphasized by the viola's rich, muted tone. Beffa's language, tonal with unexpected harmonic changes produced by his modal scales, is well displayed in this work, with its rich, melodic outer movements and brittle, Shostakovich-like central section. The little concertino for harp and strings is an intimate miniature that passes a gently autumnal meldy between soloist and ensemble. Dark begins with a stately, Spanish-tinged courtly dance in Debussyan harmonies, with a certain enigmatic Satie-esqueness, followed by a more neo-romantic section. Nuit obscure sets poems of St John of the Cross in an atmosphere of restrained, meditative ecstasy, with repeating melodic patterns and the unusual meter of the poetry reflected in the eloquent, searching vocal lines. Dédale - maze - draws inspiration from Borges, a writer who has been a persistent influence on Beffa. Its elaborate, dense harmony creates a strange, dreamlike state, while a more active central section whirls and pulses like some mysterious mechanism. Rainbow is an in memoriam piece, the piano gently and persistently chiming over slowly evolving string chords. Karol Beffa (piano), Karine Deshayes (mezzo), Arnaud Thorette (violin, viola), Emmanuel Ceysson (harp), Ensemble Contraste; Johan Farjot.