RICHARD DANIELPOUR (b.1956): Symphony for Strings “…For Love is Strong as Death…”, Talking to Aphrodite for Soprano, Horn and Chamber Orchestra, Kaddish for Violin and Strings.

Catalogue Number: 08V055

Label: Naxos

Reference: 8.559857

Format: CD

Price: $12.98

Description: Another welcome selection of thoroughly approachable, emotionally direct works in Danielpour's customary rich neo-Romantic idiom, familiar from his symphonies  (10P072, 09O080) and other large-scale works (10S082, 04P090). The Symphony is the composer’s transcription of his Sixth Quartet (01T056), which was based on the idea of 'farewell', and is "largely concerned with how loved ones are separated from one another through distance, time and death." The symphonic version gains in emotional gravity what it relinquishes (to a degree, limited by some felicitous solo writing) in intimacy. The first movement begins with a sustained, sorrowful theme with more than a little of Shostakovich about it - in general the orchestral version seems to bring out the work’s indebtedness to the Russian composer. The ensuing fast section develops a distinctly Beethovenian momentum with hints of quotation, which come stunningly to the fore at the climax of the movement, later echoed in the finale. The second movement begins as a lively pizzicato scherzo, but a more dramatic central section brings a sense of unease before the high spirits of the opening are restored. The long, emotionally powerful finale culminates in a hymn with variations during which the sections of the ensemble gradually fall silent. Talking to Aphrodite sets parts of Erica Jong's eponymous poem, full of her characteristic frankness and directness of emotion and lovely, tangible sensuous imagery. The composer sums it up thus: "This poem concerns a woman of a certain age, who considers (not unlike Sappho) jumping off a cliff to end her life. In a dream she encounters the goddess of love and in a conversation with her, ultimately decides to end her attachment to death, and in doing so, chooses life." Danielpour illustrates the verses with music as vivid and wide-ranging as the painterly tableaux of the poem, including a stabbing scherzo and a sultry, sun-infused, quasi-pornophonic tango. Kaddish is of course a lament, moving toward consolation, with the solo violin an eloquent, expressive cantor. Texts included. Sarah Shafer (soprano), Maxim Semyonov (horn), Evgeny Pravilov (violin), Russian String Orchestra; Misha Rachlevsky.


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