Table of Contents
JG Thirlwell: ‘Dystonia’
Mivos Quartet (Cantaloupe)
If you’re a enthusiast of grownup cartoons, you might have previously listened to the songs of the composer JG Thirlwell, who has published antic and entertaining themes for “Archer” and “The Venture Bros.” But he has also extensive plied his trade on the modern day classical scene, with compositions for the Kronos Quartet and Alarm Will Audio.
At a harmonic amount, his cartoon scores really don’t seem significantly like his “serious” new music. But there is 1 regular at operate: Thirlwell is an entertainer. That high-quality makes his most current album — a collection of quartets performed by the Mivos Quartet — a certain highlight.
A demonstration of his expertise comes through the very first minute of “Ozymandias,” the album’s vivacious, tightly plotted centerpiece. Just after setting up an quick facility with some evergreen avant-garde-isms — stabbing staccato, glowering glissandi — Thirlwell writes a passage of singing, vibrato-strewn actively playing. Then it is back to the savagery. Crucially, while, he’s not afraid of far more susceptible sonic states. That sensibility pays off handsomely through the album, not the very least in the penultimate work, “Heliophobia.”
At a surface area degree, the sequencing of this album’s 5 performs alternates concerning intensive ragers and extra intimate meditations, but just about every just one also is made up of multitudes. And chalk up a different victory for the Mivos gamers final 12 months, they brought new pieces by the improvising guitarist Mary Halvorson into the classical sphere. Now they’ve built a mark this calendar year as nicely. SETH COLTER Walls
‘Der Ferne Klang …’: Orchestral Functions & Tunes by Franz Schreker
Chen Reiss, soprano Matthias Goerne, baritone Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Christoph Eschenbach, conductor (Deutsche Grammophon)
Heady, enveloping, ever so a bit preposterous — what spectacular audio Franz Schreker wrote for the orchestra, and what a shame that it has fallen into such disfavor. Each and every so frequently, a recording arrives alongside to restore its lavish glories to honor, even though, and this a single is specially welcome for its selection, its good quality and its devotion to the induce.
Christoph Eschenbach could not conjure the feeling of liberty and wonder that enraptures in the most intoxicating accounts of Schreker’s scores — Michael Gielen’s “Vorspiel zu einem Drama,” say, or Marc Albrecht’s “Der Schatzgräber” — but the subtlety and regulate that he brings to these performances is amazing even so.
Choose the extraordinary amount of money of depth to be listened to in the wandering, longing “Nachtstück” from “Der Ferne Klang,” or the care obvious in the “Valse Lente,” which the Konzarthausorchester gamers phrase with charming, naïve serenity. The beautiful Chamber Symphony and the dainty Kleine Suite get beautiful readings, reminders of a delicacy in Schreker’s producing that is normally forgotten amid all its opulence. Chen Reiss and Matthias Goerne make delicate arguments in change for the mournful “Vom ewigen Leben,” which sets poetry by Whitman, and the doleful “Fünf Gesänge.” Only the Passionate Suite falls shorter, dragging a minimal too usually in tempo but if it does, properly, that is just an justification, if you need to want 1, to discover an additional Schreker recording to slide in really like with. DAVID ALLEN
‘Fantasie: 7 Composers, Seven Keyboards’
Alexander Melnikov (Harmonia Mundi)
A single draw back of the period-instrument motion is that its insistence on historical accuracy has place one thing of a damper on recordings that cross centuries and variations. Enter Alexander Melnikov, a pianist whose hottest album traces the improvement of the fantasy, Western music’s most imaginative and the very least rule-certain form, from the 18th to 20th generations.
Every single composer is listened to on a unique keyboard, kicking off with Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, executed to crisp, punchy influence on a duplicate of a two-guide harpsichord from the 17th century, and coming whole circle with Schnittke’s grinding Improvisation and Fugue, played on a Steinway less than a ten years previous.
Melnikov calls the system a “handshake game” in which the imprint of one composer can be heard in people that stick to (although in some cases at subterranean depths). Something similar goes for the instruments as very well. The tangent piano — a now-obscure instrument from the 18th century, on which Melnikov plays a harmonically daring fantasia by C.P.E. Bach — has some unique timbres that turn into both of those smoother and far more unified on the fortepiano used for two functions by Mozart.
Higher resonance materializes in will work by Chopin and especially Mendelssohn, whose Fantasia in F-sharp minor bristles with edgy depth and Passionate brio. But this just scratches the surface area of the connections created and the surprises encountered in this recording, which is, pardon the expression, just superb. DAVID WEININGER
Michael Spyres, tenor Il Pomo d’Oro Francesco Corti, conductor (Erato)
On his new set of arias from the Baroque and early Classical eras, Michael Spyres stretches himself to the restrict. By my math, he sings across 3 octaves, bringing panache and a juicy, pliable audio to tunes composed for tenors who could rival castratos in virtuosity and elegance of tone.
In 2021, this sui generis vocalist introduced “Baritenor,” an album with an audacious — if at occasions unconvincing — blend of famous baritone and tenor arias. In “Contra-Tenor,” by contrast, Spyres appears free, fresh and dashing, equalizing the registers of a chestnut-coloured voice from dusky lows to lightsome highs. He visits the scarce air earlier mentioned substantial C in boffo flashes and relishes base notes for their very own brand of virtuosity, recalling Marilyn Horne’s revelrous way with downward ornaments in “Una voce poco fa.”
The album hits a single stupefying climax just after a further, and for a recital with arias by Mozart, Handel and Gluck, it is a testomony to Spyres’s showmanship that the very best moments come in the rarities. His weightless tone beguiles in Sarro’s “Fra l’ombre un lampo solo,” and his poise amid the major leaps and tiny twists of arias by Mazzoni and Latilla beggars belief.
The conductor Francesco Corti’s effervescent model with Il Pomo d’Oro propels Spyres’s handsome, explosive vocalism. These musicians depart little question of the star electrical power of the Baroque-period tenors who sang this materials — and of the singer who is reviving it. OUSSAMA ZAHR
Elfman: Violin Concerto, Hailstork: Piano Concerto
Sandy Cameron, violin Stewart Goodyear, piano Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra JoAnn Falletta, conductor (Naxos)
The conductor JoAnn Falletta has large-ranging taste. She was an early interpreter of the music of John Luther Adams in current decades, she has investigated rarities by Franz Schreker and Victor Herbert, even though also playing arrangements of Ellington with her players at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, where she has been the songs director given that 1999.
That curiosity is provided room to roam once once more on this album. Danny Elfman’s madcap and noirish gifts — common to supporters of Tim Burton films and “The Simpsons” — are on intermittent exhibit all through his Violin Concerto No. 1. But with a functioning time of more than 40 minutes, this perform also usually belabors its points in some cases, it neglects to give the orchestra enough to do.
Fortunately, Adolphus Hailstork’s Piano Concerto No. 1 rewards the orchestra a lot more richly. His songs is, at previous, starting up to be programmed additional on a regular basis on June 13, the New York Choral Society will present his latest “A Knee on the Neck” at David Geffen Corridor. In the initially movement here, he puts folkloric Americana riffs as a result of astonishing variants whilst also partaking with the raucous legacy of Ballets Russes-period Stravinsky. In the second movement, Hailstork, he crafts themes comprehensive of yearning ardor. And in the finale, these numerous fascinations are fused with ingenuity. The entire piece is a corker. SETH COLTER Partitions