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"Black Sea Idyll"
NEW AMERICAN ORCHESTRA MUSIC

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Catalog Number: CPS-8648
Audio Format: Stereo, DDD
Playing Time: 60:00
Release Date: 1998

Track Listing & Audio Samples
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  Tom Flaherty
1.
Intrada (2:38)
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  Radu Corei, conductor
 
  Dinos Constantinides
  Dedications for Orchestra
  2. Andante (3:50)
  3. Allegro (3:45)
  Radu Corei, conductor
 
  William Toutant
  4. Arcanae (10:15)
  Radu Corei, conductor
 
  Robert Tomaro
  5. Celestial Navigation (10:19)
  Robert Tomaro, conductor
 
  Carson Rothrock
  6. Vertigo - Scherzo for Orchestra (5:26)
  Radu Corei, conductor
 
  William Toutant
  7. Peregrinations II (7:08)
  Radu Corei, conductor
 
  Daniel Kessner
  8. Images of Romania (15:13)
  Daniel Kessner, conductor
  Cristina Oprean and Lucian Iancu, narrators

 

Reviews

20th Century Music - August 1998 - by Mark Alburger

"The recent Capstone release, Black Sea Idyll, is anything but idle, getting right down to business in the opening Intrada by Tom Flaherty, a brilliant three-part curtain-raiser featuring frenetic brass. If the sound quality is a little tinny and the playing from Radu Cioreis Black Sea Philharmonic not quite that of New York, the fact that the spirit of the music comes through so well is all the more remarkable.

The same performance/recording challenges are in evidence elsewhere in Dinos Constantinidess Dedications for Orchestra in two movements, a lovely Andante and animated Allegro, where a jaunty, rugged American quality is allied to Eastern European memories.

Arcanae, by William Toutant, somehow inevitably calls to mind Varèses Arcana, if in name only. The brass fanfares are more ritualistic and less edgy, however, and eventually, after a rousing duel for tinfoil tom-toms and timpani lead into a more Hovhanessian world of chant and troubadour tunes. A little Bartòk, a little minimalism, more than a little ominous animosity, a lot of creativity. The composer returns later in the album for an arid-yet-mysterious, lonely-yet-busy, Webern-yet-jungle-Stravinsky Peregrinations II. Typewriter death taps rap in the muted militant percussion. Stimulating-yet-numbing, the dense ostinati build into a rich carpet, over which a final searching melody builds to a climax.

Violence is often the order of the day in the Robert Tomara "Celestial Navigation, in difficult brass fanfares and dense textures, a rollicking world with again a touch of Hovhaness in ascending harp ostinati and plenteous bells. The work's two movements Andante con moto and Allegro vivace are played without pause, ultimately winding down into sputtering masses of woodwinds.

Carson Rothrocks Vertigo Scherzo for Orchestra is a Schoenbergian twittering machine of perpetual motion, perfectly serviceable heavy on the motive, hold the them, giving way to a slam-bang tonal conclusion. The CD arrives at its performance source in Images of Romania (Icoane Romanesti). By Daniel Kessner. This unusual work juxtaposes Romanian poetry of Marin Sorescu and Lucian Blaga directly with its English translations, spoken respectively by Cristina Oprean and Lucian Iancu. The music is colorful and animated, with a whiny string moto perpetuo that speaks a similar language to the third movement of Prokofievs Symphony No. 3."

 

Fanfare - November/December 1998 *

These seven works by American composers were recorded during the past few years' Romanian American Music Days festival on the Black Sea. Hence the title of the disc.

Most composers don't see many opportunities for performance of their orchestral music. To this circumstance I attribute the tendency toward a kind of highbrow Sousa-ism, a bombast of cleverness, rhythmic impulse, and catchy melody designed to capture the audience, however briefly. This CD, like similar releases by MMC, features several pieces in this vein.

Intrada,
by Tom Flaherty, describes an inverted arch. It begins and ends with the same rhythmically excited brass figures. The middle section dissolves into a quieter passage for strings. At only two and a half minutes in length, though, the piece does not offer a whole lot to think about.

Dedications for Orchestra
by Dinos Constantinides unfolds in two movements of about four minutes each. The first comes from the elegy department, with plaintive string orchestra melodies and simple countermelody. The second movement, adding winds and light percussion, duplicates the mood and style (if not the fugue) of the finale of The Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra, even to the point of featured solos among the orchestral forces.

Carson Rothrock extracts Vertigo-Scheizofor Orchestra directly from the early Romantic tradition of the genre. While a bit more chromatic and a little more up-to-date in the orchestration, the tone is almost that of the Symphonie fantastique scherzo. Though effective in its way, it might benefit from a somewhat faster tempo than that taken here.

More original and interesting is the first of two pieces by William Toutant, Arcanae. It begins, alas, with a fanfare scored for all the brass-a well-worn opening gambit. This material takes on developmental significance but makes no harmonic progress before a Gregorian chant melody . . ."