GEORGE TSONTAKIS (b.1951): Violin Concerto No. 2, Claire de Lune, The Past, The Passion.
Catalogue Number: 11J113
Label: Koch International Classics
Description: Tsontakis' concerto (which won him the 2005 Grawemeyer Award - the most financially lucrative composition prize in music) is described as a 'democratic' concerto; the soloist plays with the ensemble - the ringleader in a series of games - exhilarating and sophisticated all at once; the second movement is even entitled 'games'. Based firmly in tonality, Tsontakis' music exploits familiar devices to suggest light and luminosity, from higher dissonances recognisable as derived from Messiaen to impressionistic floods of color and warmth. The French influence is even more apparent in the substantial symphonic poem Clair de lune, with a hint of the jazz that captivated Ravel thrown in for good measure. The Past is the earliest work here; an ensemble work in which a 'Passion Chorale' (by Hans Leo Hassler) is embedded in shimmering or cloudy textures, again with many allusions to French and southern-European models. As in the more recent works, Tsontakis borrows from tradition without sounding derivative or masking his own unmistakably individual voice. Steven Copes (violin), Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; Douglas Boyd.