- Double Concerto for violin, cello & orchestra
- After Reading Shakespeare, for cello
Ned Rorem's "Double Concerto for violin, cello, and orchestra" was commissioned for the two soloists heard on this recording: Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson. It is programmatic in nature in that Rorem ascribes titles to each of the movements (e.g., "Looking" and "Conversation at Midnight"). What Rorem does differently, however, is leaves the meaning of these titles up to the listener. There's no back story or information that Rorem had in mind, and there's no linear connection between each of the movements. Listeners are therefore brought into the performance process by being required to make up their own story. Laredo and Robinson do a splendid job with this intricate work and it is abundantly clear that these two have been performing together for years. Unlike the "Double Concerto," the solo cello work "After Reading Shakespeare" does indeed have a specific story in mind. In this case, each movement is set to excerpts from various plays and sonnets of the Bard. However, the liner notes and case cover of this recording do an enormous disservice to listeners. First and foremost, the titles and order of the movements are completely wrong. "Lear" is listed twice and the movement "Our Minutes Hasten to Their End" is not listed at all. Therefore, only the first two tracks have the correct names. This means that for most listeners, the music makes little or no sense when compared with the title. Furthermore, the liner notes fail to include the Shakespearean excerpts that Rorem takes the trouble to include in the score. Despite these problems, Robinson, who commissioned this work for herself, displays her exceptional technique and flare in yet another highly evocative performance.