For several years, tidal waves of CDs have beaten upon the shores of
the musical world. For the average music lover this was heaven until the
floods engulfed our idyllic land and mental stupor set in.
The specialist record magazines have bravely withstood the flood and
presented readers with umpteen pages of critical reviews. For the likes
of us, as a new and general-purpose music magazine, policy must of necessity
be highly selective.Therefore there will be no set pattern of record reviewing,
just three or four records a week, sometimes more and sometimes less. Occasional
articles specifically devoted to the recorded repertory are planned. If
readers have suggestions in this area, please send
CASELLA Paganiniana/Serenata/La Giara
Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana/Christian Benda
Unless we are aware of Italian orchestral and chamber music in the early
years of this century, names such as Casella are vaguely known without knowledge
of the music. In Casella's case the years had to roll on beyond his Paris
period before his name and music securely crossed European boundaries.
The four movements of Paganiniana, composed in 1942, are built
on good tunes from Paganini with a Stravinskian coat of many colours. That
the music was later deployed for a ballet is no surprise, and must have
supported its subsequent popularity.
The Serenata for chamber orchestra is much earlier (1927) although
in similar style, but containing two strongly expressive slow movements,
of which the first is truly of the night as its nocturnal title implies.
The Neapolitan finale is a sparkler.
In 1924, the French choreographer de Maré was in need of an Italian
ballet to contrast de Falla's Three Cornered Hat. Casella, in Paris,
set to work and in six weeks produced La Giara. Its basis is popular
Sicilian tunes enmeshed in Casella's intriguing eclectism and vivid scoring.
Performances here treat the music agreeably and the recording well supports
THIS CD FROM CROTCHET
Marburg Suite Music for trumpet and organ
Karl Reissig (trumpet) and Martin Weyer (organ)
The partnership of trumpet and organ has become popular with record buffs,
who presumably have bought these records in such number that the smaller
labels are taking a gamble. The first quality to find is a good rapport
between players, and an ambience to match. This we have here.
I have not much time for acres of Handel in bright mode arranged for
trumpet and organ. Fortunately this first track, and the second with the
ubiquitous Bach Air in D, give way to the genuine article in two of Kreb's
chorale preludes for organ and trumpet (the second a later track). Both
are delicious, not so much for intrinsic musical quality as contrapuntal
dexterity, allowing both instruments to coalesce, even though the trumpet
plays (sings) the chorale tunes.
The English composer Alan Gibbs surprisingly - but pleasantly - breaks
into this programme from the past with his five-movement Marburg Suite.
Lean textured and very disciplined with material stated and developed, Gibbs
spreads his canvas with colour carefully laid to portray the two disparate
instruments in union and diversity.
Martin Weyer varies the programme with the Toccata and Fugue in
D minor and Mozart's Fantasia K594. Dr Weyer plays with style if not passion
on a refurbished 18th-century organ that is noticeably splendid in organo
Copyright © Basil Ramsey, 10 January
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