OLIVIER GREIF (1950-2000): Oi Akashe, Op. 170, Op. 167 (cello and piano), Op. 173 (cello and piano), Solo from Nô, Op. 154 (violin), Veni Creator, Op. 103 (cello and piano), Op. 83 (violin and piano), Op. 84 (violin and piano), Caprice pour Colette, Op. 185 (violin), Op. 104, Variations on Peter Philips (violin and piano), 42nd Street for Piano, Adieu New York, Op. 349.
Catalogue Number: 09O077
Description: This disc offers a different but equally convincing aspect of this fascinating, prolific, and original composer, from the serious, passionate works, shaded with apparent premonitions of his own untimely death, that have so far predominated in Greif's recorded output. The most extended works here encompass several highly original approaches to variation form. The first half of the Variations on Peter Philips' 'Dolorosa' retains a good measure of the character of the original, in somewhat archaic harmonies, but the variations increasingly depart from this model, and the second part of the work is harmonically and rhythmically very free, with saturated textures, before a final return to the theme in ethereal harmonics. Veni creator begins with phrases of the plainchant presented with a certain ascetic economy, but as the variations progress the cello line becomes increasingly florid and ornamented, and the piano accompaniment more dissonant and fuller of texture, with some striking bell sonorities. Oi Akashe also presents a straightforward theme, first with a degree of austerity, soon overtaken by denser textures and layers of unexpected counterpoint. Interspersed throughout the disc are a series of little two-movement aphorisms with no titles, only opus numbers, sometimes incongruously juxtaposing clever pastiches of classical style, Baroque, Second Viennese, Shostakovich, Schumann, conceived as technical exercises but amply deserving of a concert existence as a varied and witty suite. 42nd Street subjects the title song from the much-revived 1933 musical to ingenious and virtuosic manifestations of Alkanic diablerie, while the transcription of Auric's little foxtrot for small ensemble is a lighthearted jewel, recalling Poulenc or neoclassical Stravinsky at their most effervescent. Delphine Biron (cello), Bertrand Giraud (piano), Mathieu Godefroy (violin), Alexandre Chabod (clarinet).