Rorem: Flute Concerto, Violin Concerto

Rorem: Flute Concerto, Violin Concerto

by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
     
 

After the appearance several absorbing volumes of diaries and memoirs, Ned Rorem's career as a writer threatened to overshadow his primary work as a composer. But in recent years, with Rorem now in his 80s, a number of recordings have thankfully brought our focus back to the unique lyrical gifts that define his music. His vocal music has always been considered his… See more details below

Overview

After the appearance several absorbing volumes of diaries and memoirs, Ned Rorem's career as a writer threatened to overshadow his primary work as a composer. But in recent years, with Rorem now in his 80s, a number of recordings have thankfully brought our focus back to the unique lyrical gifts that define his music. His vocal music has always been considered his most significant contribution -- and song recitals by Susan Graham and Carole Farley have demonstrated its beauty -- but his work for orchestra is distinguished as well. Naxos has followed up a fine recording of Rorem's three symphonies with this equally important orchestral release. The program begins with Pilgrims, a touchingly somber work for string orchestra from 1958, never before recorded, but the biggest news is the premiere recording of Rorem's Flute Concerto, written in 2002 for Jeffrey Khaner, principal flutist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, who performs it here. A large-scale addition to the instrument's none-too-vast concerto repertoire, Rorem's work prompts an ongoing flow of melody from the soloist, also revealing the surprising range of moods and expressive shadings of which the flute is capable. Khaner's brilliant performance of the solo part is matched by Philippe Quint's eloquence in Rorem's Violin Concerto (1985). Both concertos unfold over an unusual six-movement design, almost like song cycles, and in both cases it's easy to see the truth of Rorem's claim: "I conceive all non-sung pieces as though they were songs -- like settings of words that aren't there." As in Quint's other recordings of American repertoire for Naxos -- Schuman's Violin Concerto and Bernstein's Serenade -- this is a commandingly authoritative performance, one that's full of personality and drama. Spanning five decades, the works on this album reflect the breadth of Rorem's contribution to the American orchestral repertoire -- and its undeniably high quality.

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Editorial Reviews

Gramophone - Peter Dickinson
Committed performances all round.... This is relaxed and indulgent music.
Time Out New York - Stephen Francis Vasta
The seven minute Pilgrims may just be the best thing on the program. Its broad, searching legato lines embody Rorem's distinctive emotional ambivalence; the tonal harmonies have just enough of a dissonant edge to cut the sweetness.
Philadelphia Inquirer - David Patrick Stearns
All the wit found in earlier works is [in the Flute Concerto], but put to more serious purpose.... Rorem, in his 80th year, [is] exploring new territory with more invention than ever before. Flutist Khaner plays with the authority of one who both knows the territory well and is happy to maintain elements of mystery.
Courier-Post - Robert Baxter
Jeffrey Khaner crafts a colorful reading.... Philip[pe] Quint captures the fleeting moods in Rorem’s six-movement violin concerto. His taut playing invigorates the music.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/16/2006
Label:
Naxos American
UPC:
0636943927823
catalogNumber:
8559278
Rank:
220833

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Violin Concerto  - Ned Rorem  - Jean Cocteau  - José Serebrier  -  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra  - Philippe Quint
  2. Pilgrims, for strings  - Ned Rorem  - Jean Cocteau  - José Serebrier  -  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  3. Flute Concerto  - Ned Rorem  - Jean Cocteau  - José Serebrier  -  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra  - Jeffrey Khaner

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