JOHN CORIGLIANO (b.1938): Troubadours for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra, WAYNE SIEGEL (b.1953): Chaconne for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra*, CONSTANTINE CARAVASSILIS (b.1979): Saudade for Guitar and Orchestra*. * - First Recordings.

Catalogue Number: 09W051

Label: Orchid Classics

Reference: ORC 100142

Format: CD

Price: $16.98

Description: Perhaps because of its, and its relatives', centuries-long association with the popular cultures of many nations, the guitar always seems to bring out composers' most lyrical, nostalgic, and evocative tendencies, and so it is in these instantly appealing and engaging works with deep undercurrents of emotion and historical resonance. Caravassilis' substantial four-movement concerto bears the title "Saudade" which "represents the deepest of desires for something that cannot exist in the present [and] of the emotions one experiences when a memory of the past resurfaces" in the composer’s words. The opening movement explores two motifs, one from the composer’s childhood memories, the other a Greek folksong, in a mood that might be described as an expectant, mystery-laden musical "magical realism", constructing fully fleshed-out scenes from fluid fragments of memory. The next movement is a busy, argumentative scherzo, the soloist and orchestra constantly trying to one-up each other in rapid-fire, good-humoured exchanges. The lovely slow movement epitomises the sentiments embodied in the concerto's title, hauntingly evoking “feelings of reminiscence, separation, emptiness, absence". The cadenza is reflective, evoking the moods of the work thus far, beginning uncertainly, then gathering confidence and introducing the characteristic rippling, repeated-note textures of traditional guitar music, which continue into the finale. This movement strides into the future with optimism, tinged with resignation, bringing the work's main motifs together in flowing counterpoint. Siegel's concerto is a strict application of the time-honoured, venerable form of the chaconne. His early influences from folk and rock music are distantly audible, and more immediately so the pulsating minimalism of Reich and the romantic development thereof by Glass, in a hugely enjoyable triumph of the widest-ranging, skillful, inventive, and unorthodox variation of harmony and texture. An additional nod to the clever introduction, which has the soloist humming to himself, trying to remember and pick out the notes of the ground before launching into the kaleidoscopically teeming effusion of invention that follows. Both younger composers freely acknowledge the influence of Corigliano's atmospheric, characterful Troubadours (1993), which evokes in the imagination the world of the mediæval lyric poets mostly without directly imitating the style of the time, although the original theme on which the work is a series of neo-romantic variations is a troubadour-like melody with a phrase borrowed from an actual 12th century example. Jakob Bangsø (guitar), Tallinn Chamber Orchestra; Kaisa Roose.


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