CHARLES MARTIN LOEFFLER (1861-1935): La Mort de Tintagiles, Op. 6, CARL RUGGLES (1876-1971): Evocations, HOWARD HANSON (1896-1981): Before the Dawn, Op. 17 (World Premiere Recording), HENRY COWELL (1897-1965): Variations.

Catalogue Number: 10X002

Label: Ondine

Reference: ODE 1396-2

Format: CD

Price: $16.98

Description: A stimulating snapshot of the intriguing byways of 20th century American music, with a selection of rarities of remarkable quality. The star of the show has to be Cowell's astonishing Variations, a product of his later years when he was no longer the groundbreaking avant-gardiste of the early decades of the century. There is nothing conventional, though, about this powerful and highly original piece, into which Cowell poured the innovations picked up at every stage of his career; overall post-romantic extended tonality in idiom, it contains some unique orchestration and harmonies, and the variations for percussion with a rapid-running toccata for piano / xylophone are as innovative as anything he ever did, and as thrilling. The Hanson, receiving its world premiere recording 100 years after it was written, is a very early, but entirely typical, example of the rich vein of Romanticism that runs through his output. Loeffler was effectively an European Romantic who settled in the USA in 1882, and embraced the tone poem genre around the same time as Richard Strauss, whose music his resembles, while drawing on its antecedents by Tchaikovsky, Liszt et al. Tintagiles, based on a characteristically symbolism-laden, fatalistic play by Maeterlinck, is appropriately stormy, heroic, lyrically sweeping and ultimately desolate, depicting the frantic and futile efforts to avert an inevitable murder in a gloomy, decaying castle. Ruggles' Evocations are craggy, granitic outcrops of the batholith that is the composer’s output. Basque National Orchestra; Robert Trevino.


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