Hindson: Violin Concerto / Corigliano: Red Violin Suite

Hindson: Violin Concerto / Corigliano: Red Violin Suite

by Lara St. John
     
 
Lara St. John is a performer whose requirements concerning contemporary music are quite stringent, and it has nothing to do with an especially conservative outlook on her part or other not well-considered assumptions. St. John -- like any concert artist -- is constantly on the lookout for new and interesting pieces to perform, and as a star performer, she has to

Overview

Lara St. John is a performer whose requirements concerning contemporary music are quite stringent, and it has nothing to do with an especially conservative outlook on her part or other not well-considered assumptions. St. John -- like any concert artist -- is constantly on the lookout for new and interesting pieces to perform, and as a star performer, she has to maintain standards that are bit more exclusive than would be the norm for a violinist. Like most violin players, both stars and non-stars, she has been saddled with a work here and there that didn't work for her. For the first release of contemporary music on her own Ancalagon imprint, featuring St. John as soloist with the Royal Philharmonic under Sarah Ioannides, she would not have gone forward without ensuring that the music within was right for her. Luckily for St. John there is Australian composer Matthew Hindson. In the part of the world where Hindson lives and works, the heritage of composers such as New Zealand's Douglas Lilburn is just as relevant as that of celebrated international figures such as György Ligeti, and in his invigorating and highly pictorial "Violin Concerto" Hindson manages to locate a happy medium between these poles and yet others. The first movement, "Wind Turbine at Kooragang Island" evokes the awe-inspiring rumble of giant wind generators erected there by Energy Australia; the second, "Westerway," reflects in a melancholy way on a depressed Tasmanian town; and the final movement, "Grand Final Day," captures an annual Australian sporting event in an exuberant and highly exciting manner. Hindson's "Violin Concerto" is brilliantly orchestrated, and is just the thing to thrill a concert audience; St. John reportedly loves it; there is no denying that both the concerto and St. John's performance of it have power, immediacy, and substance. To fill out the program, John Corigliano's "Suite from The Red Violin," which is swiftly becoming a concert standard for violinists everywhere, is pressed into service. In a sense, the Corigliano is a no-brainer, and St. John and Ioannides do it ample justice here. However, St. John's violin transcription -- made with composer Martin Kennedy, not the famous Kennedy whom some might think is somehow involved just by virtue of the name -- of Franz Liszt's piano concerto "Totentanz" is something that definitely comes from left field. Nevertheless, it also definitely works, and as Liszt -- for all of his mountains of output -- never managed to produce anything for violin and orchestra, it stands as a valuable contribution to the violin repertory. Curiously, Liszt's virtuoso piano part translates quite well to the violin; the concerto never seems facilitated and most of the orchestration is carried over directly from the original. Although it is a young company, Ancalagon is already practically in the lead in terms of adding value to packaging of classical music. Not only is the disc a superb-sounding Super Audio CD, it also comes in a cardboard pack that folds out into three panels containing two booklets, the second including all of the texts in French and German. It is generously filled with photos and information about the works, composers, and performers alike, with a brief and, as usual, incisive note by St. John herself. The playing, recording, and packaging are all first-rate, and not too many current discs of contemporary music can claim such pride of quality as this one. This excellent result comes from the sheer dedication of an artist to produce an album that she would want to buy. If you're on the same page with Lara St. John, you'll definitely be on the same page with this.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/08/2008
Label:
Ancalagon
UPC:
0723721347550
catalogNumber:
133
Rank:
150174

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Violin Concerto
  2. The Red Violin, suite from the film for violin & orchestra
  3. Totentanz, for piano & orchestra, S. 126 (LW H8)

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