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For Professional Use Only
Brubeck / Stravinsky / Weill

Note

After their recent collaborations with BJORK, PAUL McCARTNEY, ELVIS COSTELLO and ANNE SOFIE VON OTTER, The BRODSKY'S latest stunning recording features 3 challenging, yet accessible, works of rare Twentieth Century repertoire.

111,

Dave Brubeck was originally commissioned by AN DIE MUSIK to write a two movement piece based

on a theme by Brubeck favourite composer, J.S.Bach. This was later expanded to four movements specially written for BRODSKY QUARTET. The first three movements - Allegro Molto, Chorale and Fugue are very much in the contemporary classical mold, with the final 13-minute Chaconne displaying Brubeck's mastery of both Jazz and Classical idioms.

"As a composer I could not be more happy than I am, having just heard the final master of this BRODSKY QUARTET performance" - Dave Brubeck (April 1997)

Igor Stravinsky's CONCERTINO was written in 1920 at the request of the Flonzaley Quartet. It has one energetic movement with a brief Andante interlude and a reflective coda, and incorporates a quite

astonishing variety of stylistic devices and mood within its overall duration of 7 minutes.

Kurt Weill's FIRST STRING QUARTET was premiered in 1923. (It was in fact the second string quartet written by Weill but the earlier composition was never assigned an Opus number). Expressionism holds the key to this work with its intensely chromatic harmonies of the desolate Introduktion and Scherzo. In contrast, there is a purity of utterance and a spiritual dimension in the final movement -Choralephantasie.

) Lament "Willielmenia Fernandez (sop):

•rtstello (stigr): Brodsky Quartet (Michael 'Dolmas. Ian Belton. viis: Paul ("assidy. sea: Jacqueline 11 as. vc): 'Si,',,, Monks (vc):

'Mary Scully (db).

Silva Classics 0 (I) SILK I Moo I (71 minutes: 1)1)1)).

Stravinsky: lliree pieces. .1. Alvarez: Metro

Cliabac: . Traditional: She moved through

the fair'. D Matthews: Adagio. Szymanski: Five

Pieu:s. Massenet: Elegie. M. Dromas: I tarok! In Islington. Variat• s on a theme of Banjo Patterson. "Waltzing Matilda-. Scullhorpe: 1..amentc.

Whether you find this programme annoyingly bitty or prof dly stimulating will be very much a matter of personal taste. The packaging may he glitzy but the music-making has real integrity. The sound is excellent too. bright and vivid without adopting a clinical 'pop' ambience. Only the Stravinsky pieces are at all f: and they receive a hyper-brilliant. decontextualizing sort of realization which makes them sit happily with the knowing minimalism of Javier Alvarez. I lis Metro Chahar-a:so is a real discovery—il a Latinized combination of early Tippett. Steve Reich and sophisticated pop is your idea of fn. -Die plangent simplicity of the original folk melody is not neces¬sarily best served by the treatment accorded to She snored through tlw fair, an offshoot of the Juliet biters Tour and CD (WEA (D 9362 45180-2) which again features rock musician Elvis Costello on vocals, palpably sincere but quavery. Should you lint the restrained English eloquence of David Matthews's Adagio a little too mainstream. the post-modern polystylism of Novel szyotto,kr, Fire Pieces may he - to your taste. These are effective miniatures whose scoring and use of a battery of 'effects show a natural facility for and understanding of the medium. Whatever their ultimate worth (I was reminded or early Part or Sehnittke rather than any fellow Pole) they are despatched here with real conviction, the harmon¬ics dazzlingly well controlled, the sustained notes impeccably tuned. The Massenet arrangement is sensitive and unobtrusive with Diva star Wilhelme¬nia Fernandez conveying an appealing mixture of seductiveness and melancholy. Michael 11h as's minimalist Harold In Islington is seriously over¬long but his more eclectic encore [lariat" s on a theme of Bann, Patterson works well. By highlight¬ing the nostalgic elements or the jolly Waltzing Matilda theme in several of the variations. -n as conlOunds expectations. weaving in divergent musics. including both an imitation wobble-boa fd and a Schubertiade. The st significant newish) music on the disc is Peter Sculthorpe's Lament. all at raag.:ment of a piece originally scored for string orchestra in 1976. Coherently structured. Aylisti¬catty consistent and beautillilly reworked for string sextet. the second cello and double-bass lending a dark. oppressive sonority, its musical argument seems almost old-last • ed in its conviming conti¬nuity. l'he climax is genuinely moving. though some I suppose may find the idiom melodramatic or mom' alter the • picturesque Asian influ-ences of the Eighth Quartet (as recorded by the KrOMIS Quartet. 2/H9).

Roa. tttttt ended to those with a post-modernist sensibility and clean hands: the designers might care to note that their distressed brow....

sl s up every linger-mark. DSG

GRAMOPHONE Sep 1994



Gramophone Reviews Galley

Q D. Brubeck Chromatic Fantasy.

Stravinsky Concertino.

Weill String Quartet, Op. 8. Brodsky Quartet (Michael Thomas, Ian Belton, vns: Paul Cassidy. va; Jaqueline Thomas, vc).

Silva Classics ® ,CD SILKD6014 (55 minutes: DDD).

- selected comp ;; is ;

Brandis Qt 13/95) ININ1B) NI5410

The opening bars of the Stravinsky Concerto jar so much on this disc with the end of Brubeck's Chromatic Fantasy that, even after repeated listen-ings. the idea of bringing together Brubeck. Stravinsky and Weill seems a serious miscalcula¬tion. As a coupling it seems to promise an album of jazz-inspired music, but in fact the gritty, specula¬tive nature of both the Weill and Stravinsky pieces will come as a disappointment to any listener hop¬ing for something more on the lines of "Mack the Knife".

Dave Brubeck's Chromatic Fantasy was written in 1996 and represents an attempt on the com¬poser's part to write a serious classical work. The title refers not only to the chromaticism of Brubeck's characteristic jazz harmonies but also to a number of extended contrapuntal passages haunted by a I2-note theme and the B-A-C-1-1 motive. Some of the latter inventions, such as the opening bars of the third movement "Fugue", are not entirely convincing and you only feel the Brodsky warming to their task when they move on to music more reminiscent of Brubeck's own piano playing.

The Weill Quartet. Op. 23 can also be heard in a recording by the Brandis Quartet, where it is more

)— appropriately coupled with the Schulhoff First Quartet and the Hindemith Third. The Brandis's more expansive tempos emphasize the chorale-like nature of much of the music, with the expressive weight placed firmly on the final "Choralphantasie". Nevertheless, many will prefer the Brodsky's more vivid characterization of the first two movements, hacked up by a more forward and urgent sound.

The Brodsky's accounts of the Brubeck and Weill pieces are separated only by a slightly breath¬less performance of the Stravinsky Concertino in its original version and you can't help feeling that an opportunity was missed to right the musical balance by recording another piece. As it is now, with a total duration of only 55 minutes. this is a strange disc that never really has enough time to

M

settle down.
  • Performed by: Brodsky Quartet
  • Record Label: Silva Classics
  • Release Year: 1997
  • UPC Code: 5014929601427
  • Genres: Classical - Classical

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