Notes and Editorial Reviews
"La Leyenda del Kakuy (the legend of Kakuy) is based on an Argentinian Indian story. The Kakuy is a nocturnal bird found in that region, onomatopoetically named for the sound it makes. The seven-movement work here takes us through the story that concerns a brother who resents his sister and tries to kill her by stranding her in the forest, whereupon she is transformed into a bird, and cries out in vain for her departed brother. The sounds of this work are exotic, and demonstrate that Wilenski has his own unique artistic voice. Once you’ve heard this work, filled with twittering and other jungle sounds, you won’t forget it.
The three solo pieces seem to be cut more or less from the same cloth as the second quartet. The
three-movement Violin Sonata has a lot of wandering chromatic lines, and, like Bartók, Wilenski “fills in” the notes of a chromatic scale in non-sequential fashion. The second movement in particular evokes a Hassidic flavor to my ears, in keeping with the Jewish ethnicity of its composer. The third movement is entitled “Alla Ludwig van,” and respectfully pokes some fun at the finale of Ludwig’s Fourth Symphony. The composer cleverly uses thematic material from each of the other very different movements to tie the work together structurally. This work is fun to listen to, and I’m sure to play as well. The five-minute Hommage to B. B. (Béla Bartók) utilizes solo clarinet, and is one of the composer’s oldest extent works, dating from 1976. Homage or not, it is clearly not intended to actually sound like Bartók, given its pointillistic writing, and special effects. I’m sure clarinetists have a name for some of these, but since I’m not a clarinet expert, as is my colleague Richard A. Kaplan, I don’t know what they might be called—one of them resembles a baby wailing. Somewhere in the work there is a quote from the Hungarian master’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, but I didn’t catch it. The last of the three solo pieces is scored for bassoon, which is initially given long flowing lines that yield to a middle section of unbridled rhythmic vivacity. Bassoonists should take note of this work, as it would be a very effective recital piece. Bernardo Verde brings it off superbly.
This is a composer worth exploring and savoring...I’d begin with the Navona CD containing the utterly distinctive and gripping La Leyenda del Kakuy. Note that the Navona disc contain[s] interactive material, including study scores and additional program notes. Two thumbs up, all around."
FANFARE: David DeBoor Canfield
Works on This Recording
La Leyenda del Kakuy by Osias Wilenski
Hommage to B. B. by Osias Wilenski
Juame Sanchis Carretero (Clarinet)
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