Suffice to say Schnittke's Eighth Symphony is truly one of his greatest works and, indeed, one of the great symphonic works of the latter twentieth century. The charge of oppressive asceticism laid against the Sixth and Seventh symphonies can hardly be held up to this expansive and frankly emotional work. It is as if Schnittke relaxed the skeletal sounds of his previous essays in the genre and, while not quite returning to the dazzling orchestral pyrotechnics of the Fifth Symphony (Concerto Grosso no. 4), created a work of great sincerity and beauty. The first movement is an obsessive repetition of a wide-ranging (in pitch, not rhythm) melody, seemingly effortlessly varied to touch on all sections of the orchestra. The climax is reached early in the movement and the remainder is a chilling decrescendo, the harmonies becoming more static and dissonant. The second and fourth movements are bitter, angry and Shostakovichian in their use of dissonant intervals to create a long line. They share thematic material, yet shards of the first and third movements invade to further complicate the texture. The eighteen minute third movement is a remarkable achievement. It seems to pick up the wisps of tonality discernable at the end of Mahler's Ninth and convert them into a long elegy for a lost romanticism. The sparsity of texture (often long stretches of monophonic strings) throws the emotive weight totally on the long, twisting and often stunningly beautiful melodies that emerge. The entrance of the low brass towards the end is just one of the profound moments in this stunning meditation on life, and the afterlife. After the rage of the fourth movement, the fifth movement provides a truly wonderful solution to the problems of the previous ones- a slowly ascending c major scale is caught by various instruments, always ppp and the work ends with this visionary cluster.Amazon.com
The late Alfred Schnittke has, after his death, been accused of writing too much music of variable quality. This debate is still raging although suffice to say that the Eighth Symphony truly is one of his greatest works and indeed, one of the great symphonic works of the latter twentieth century. The charge of oppressive asceticism laid against the Sixth and Seventh symphonies can hardly be held up to this expansive and frankly emotional work. It is as if Schnittke relaxed the skeletal sounds of his previous essays in the genre and, while not quite returning to the dazzling orchestral pyrotechnics of the Fifth Symphony (Concerto Grosso no. 4), creating a work of great sincerity and beauty. The first movement is an obsessive repetition of a wide-ranging (in pitch, not rhythm) melody, seemingly effortlessly varied to touch on all sections of the orchestra.
In many ways the Fourth Symphony illustrates Krenek's independence from any one musical style – and ultimately from his teacher(s) and those who influenced him, like Busoni, too. It has a thread of mid-century anguish and uncertainty. But it could never be described as avant-garde or experimental. Yet it's of a pleasing unity, has direction and thrust which make it more than merely stimulating listening. Like all but those of the first and second symphonies, this one on cpo is the only recording. It's full of purpose, clarity and of transparent, open, yet very …….Mark Sealey @ classical.net
The instrumental concerto occupies a very prominent place in the music of Krzysztof Penderecki. This fact is related to the great life force exhibited by this genre in twentieth century and in contemporary music. It is stimulated by commissions from virtuosos and by audience expectations; also favourable is the composers’ flexibility in approaching the form, whose chief idea continues to be the juxtaposition of the solo instrument and the orchestra. The violin and viola works presented on this CD are not only interesting, concrete realizations of the concertare idea in Penderecki’s music, but also examples of this composer’s sonic language and style in the period of his creativity which Mieczyslaw Tomaszewski called a "time of dialogue with the regained past".
After being kept in relative obscurity the music of Alessandro Scarlatti is making a glorious come back, and is recognised as at least as innovative, brilliant and profound as the music of his son, the famous Domenico Scarlatti. These “12 sinfonie di concerto grosso” are concertante works, either for a variety of solo instruments (concerto grosso) or for solo recorder and strings. These are delightful baroque concertos, brimming with energy, Italian charm and gusto. Played by Early Music group Capella Tiberina on historical instruments, Corina Marti is the recorder soloist, who already excelled in her recording of the Mancini recorder concertos on Brilliant Classics (BC 94324).
Swiss-born Bloch, a pupil of Eugène Ysaÿe, emigrated to the United States in 1916. Written in 1926, two years after Bloch had become an American citizen, America: An Epic Rhapsody, is the composer’s tribute to his adopted country. This romantic and patriotic score vividly surveys the history of the US from the native American melodies of pre-colonial days to the modern era of 1920s jazz and beyond. The Concerto Grosso No 1 is a bold statement which unites the eighteenth-century concerto grosso form with a modern tonal language.