Skip to main content
Read page text

Page Text

SOUNDS OF AMERICA

Going Latin: the Boston Cello quartet feature music from South America and Spain on their new disc

More affecting notes are sounded by Beyond the Silence of Sorrow, a song-cycle to poems by N Scott Momaday, whose House Made of Dawn won a Pulitzer in 1969. Sung with touching restraint by the dark-voiced Canadian soprano Martha Guth, Sierra’s music is intended to connect with his heritage, ‘about the many cultures and peoples that are with us, and that preceded us; some forgotten and some in a fragile state of existence’. The performances by the Puerto Rico Symphony conducted by Music Director Maximiano Valdés meet the music head-on in audiophile sound. Ladzio Maria’s densely packed bookletnotes deliver great contextual background. Laurence Vittes

‘The French In luence’ Bozza Caprice Charlier Solo de concours Enescu Légende Honegger Intrada Ibert Impromptu Jolivet Air de bravoure Pascal Capriccio Senée Concertino Gerard Schwarz tpt Kun Woo Paik pf Delos F DE1047 (42’ • ADD) Recorded 1971

Devotees of orchestral music may know Gerard Schwarz from his activities as a conductor, especially his years as Music Director of the Seattle Symphony, Mostly Mozart Festival and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. But before he took up the baton, he was a superlative trumpeter who served for five years as co-principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic. Recorded in 1971, a year before he joined that orchestra, this disc of short French pieces shows Schwarz to have been a player of remarkable virtuosity and expressive élan.

Several of the works on the programme were written for competitions, and you can hear what judges would listen for: agility, clarity, poetry. Those qualities abound in George Enescu’s Légende, which balances moody lyricism with dramatic flourishes and muted passages. The title of Théo Charlier’s Solo de concours announces its provenance in the competition world, unfolding like a mini-concerto, with fast-slow-fast sections that test a soloist’s varied gifts.

The heraldic character of the trumpet is put to brilliant use in such pieces as Arthur Honegger’s Intrada and André Jolivet’s Air de bravoure, while Henri Senée’s threemovement Concertino is a charmer, especially in a finale of lilting grace. More than a little whimsy is packed into Eugène Bozza’s Caprice and Claude Pascal’s Capriccio, as their titles imply.

Schwarz makes the most of these Gallic morsels, playing with refined and limber stylishness. He is fortunate to be paired with a pianist of equally tasteful artistry, Kun Woo Paik, a high-school chum who also went on to a noteworthy career. Donald Rosenberg

‘The Latin Project’ Albéniz Asturias. Rapsodia cubana Barroso Brazil Chabrier España Corea/Rodrigo Spain Desenne Bossa do Fim Giménez La boda de Luís Alonso Granados Andaluza Piazzolla Adiós Nonino Sciortino Iber-amer Boston Cello Quartet with Will Hudgins perc Boston Cello Quartet F (58’ • DDD)

Playing in a major symphony orchestra has its professional rewards, but many musicians who do so need other outlets for their art. The members of the Boston Cello Quartet perform original works and arrangements when they aren’t immersed in Beethoven symphonies and such with the Boston Symphony. Their captivating first disc, ‘Pictures’, featured everything from Mussorgsky and Rossini to Debussy and Piazzolla.

The ensemble’s new recording, ‘The Latin Project’, takes Piazzolla as the starting point for a journey through an assortment of gramophone.co.uk

GRAMOPHONE APRIL 2016 III

Skip to main content