ARNOLD GRILLER (b.1937): Orchestral Music, Vol. 2 - Symphony, Rhapsody Concertante, Introduction, Cakewalk and Allegro for Piano and Orchestra, Scherzoid.
Catalogue Number: 11U009
Label: Toccata Classics
Reference: TOCC 0460
Description: When we offered the first volume of orchestral works by this idiosyncratic composer a year ago (10T072), it evinced a creative mind of real and original quality, prompting adjectives such as 'intense', 'kaleidoscopic' and 'unsettling'. This disc confirms all that and makes an even stronger impression. The powerful half-hour symphony is worthy to place Griller in the company of (admittedly more prolific) British composers of tough, serious, uncompromising symphonic works like Fricker, Daniel Jones, or more recently, Hackbridge Johnson and Elcock. Like them, Griller's idiom is firmly grounded in tonality, freely, chromatically and originally used, in a tautly constructed form that makes use of thematic metamorphoses over contrasting sections within a single span. One theme in particular, a chromatic 'fate' motif, is a gesture from a longer, lyrical theme presented early on, and which recurs to dominate the symphony's several devastating climaxes. Although quirky, often sardonic humour often turns up in Griller's music, on the evidence so far he doesn't seem to do lightweight or frivolous. The extravagantly and colorfully orchestrated Fantasia is another substantial (20 minute) single span in sections, which could easily bear the title concerto for orchestra'. Like the symphony it follows a definite narrative arc, with drama, energy and lyrical relief in equal measure. Scherzoid, too, despite its tongue in cheek title, which hints at its incessant, abrupt changes in mood, is a formidable orchestral powerhouse. The lively but off-kilter, wide-spanning Cakewalk is the main point of the concertante piece, which again features Griller's trademark unusual orchestration and instrumental virtuosity. Emin Martirosian (piano), Musica Viva Symphony Orchestra; Alexander Walker. T