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Rapsodia Sinfonica / Valerie Tryon

Turina / Tryon / Rpo / Woods
Release Date: 09/10/2013 
Label:  Somm   Catalog #: 250  
Composer:  Joaquin TurinaCésar FranckManuel de FallaEnrique Granados,   ... 
Performer:  Valerie Tryon
Conductor:  Kenneth Woods
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A real treat; Tryon’s easy and evocative talent augurs well.

It’s clear from his active Twitter feed that the conductor and cellist Kenneth Woods is a very busy man. When he’s not directing the Stratford-based Orchestra of the Swan he’s blogging, teaching and - at the time of writing - he was on his way back to the UK after a stint at the Scotia Festival. He and the OOTS impressed me greatly with their Mahler-Schoenberg collection and, most recently, the last in their Gál/Schumann trilogy. This new venture with the RPO and pianist Valerie Tryon is just the start of a projected series for SOMM; Rachmaninov’s First Piano Concerto, Strauss’s Burlesque and Dohnányi’s Variations on a Nursery
Read more Theme should follow soon.
 
I’m not sure how much influence Woods has on these programmes but this new CD certainly reflects his penchant for unusual mixes. Most intriguing, though, is pianist Valerie Tryon, who is knew to me. Born in Portsmouth in 1934 and now resident in Canada she’s built up a slim but interesting portfolio of concert performances, recitals and recordings. Two of the pieces here - the Granados and Debussy - are encores from a live recital, and the Bach-Busoni was recorded back in 2000. In any event as a member of the Twitterati, I was minutes into this collection when I felt compelled to tweet my astonishment at such fine playing.
 
The disc opens with a strongly characterised and beautifully articulated reading of Turina’s Rapsodia sinfónica. I was struck by Tryon’s blend of delicacy and strength, of firm outlines and inner shadings. Age hasn’t blunted this septuagenarian’s dexterity or sense of line; indeed, there’s a youthful ease and spontaneity to her playing that’s utterly beguiling. Woods and the RPO are equally responsive, and the Iberian heat and colour of the piece are well projected. The sound is most agreeable - it’s warm and detailed - and the balance between soloist and orchestra is perfectly judged.
 
Whatever your view of Franck’s Symphonic Variations - Tovey’s description of it as a ‘freely organised rhapsody’ is entirely apt, especially in this delightful, freewheeling performance - it seldom fails to please. This is a reading of rare equilibrium - now inward, now extrovert - and it’s all bound together by an unforced, singing lyricism that’s just magical. The RPO are suitably emphatic and well-blended in the nicely scaled tuttis and Woods ensures momentum never flags. So, not a self-aggrandising or headline-grabbing performance, just an effortlessly musical one.
 
Tryon’s playing reminds me of an earlier generation of pianists - Moura Lympany among them - whose self-effacing style is so at odds with the breathless perfection of many young pianists today. It’s simple, unaffected and invariably rewarding. Falla’s sultry Nights in the Gardens of Spain has its share of fine interpreters - Alicia de Larrocha, for instance - but Tryon and Woods are persuasive too. There’s plenty of passion and point, and the work’s virtuosic passages hold no terrors for this pianist. Tryon’s phrasing and rhythms are idiomatic and it seems the brooding band is circling her in a mesmeric dance. Very entertaining indeed.
 
The maiden and the nightingale, from Book 1 of Granados’s Goyescas, is the first of two encores given at a recital in Washington DC a decade ago. Tryon is fluent and gently communicative, and her control of dynamics and shading is exemplary. As for the excerpt from Debussy’s Estampes she finds a charming lilt here - a suppleness of rhythm, if you will - that’s spellbinding. The piano sounds full and clear, and not at all compromised by being sited in a gallery rather than a concert hall. In both cases applause is warm but not overlong.
 
The Bach-Busoni Toccata and Fugue in D minor - recorded at St George’s, Bristol, in 2000 - is yet another example of Tryon’s nimble fingerwork and her ear for internal balances. The sound may be a little hard but one could argue that clarifies textures in what is essentially a carefully constructed coruscation of notes. Still, it’s another showstopper, and an ideal coda for a most rewarding collection. Having spent quite a bit of time with Rachmaninov’s First Piano Concerto recently I’m convinced this pianist’s songful and colouristic gifts will give us a reading to remember.
 
A real treat; Tryon’s easy and evocative talent augurs well for her upcoming discs.
 
-- Dan Morgan, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Rapsodia sinfónica, Op. 66 by Joaquin Turina
Performer:  Valerie Tryon (Piano)
Conductor:  Kenneth Woods
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; Spain 
2.
Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra, M 46 by César Franck
Performer:  Valerie Tryon (Piano)
Conductor:  Kenneth Woods
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; France 
3.
Nights in the gardens of Spain by Manuel de Falla
Performer:  Valerie Tryon (Piano)
Conductor:  Kenneth Woods
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911-1915; Spain 
4.
Goyescas for Piano, Op. 11: Book 1 - no 4, Quejas ó la maja y el ruiseñor by Enrique Granados
Performer:  Valerie Tryon (Piano)
Conductor:  Kenneth Woods
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1914-1916; Spain 
5.
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Valerie Tryon (Piano)
Conductor:  Kenneth Woods
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1708; Germany 
Notes: Arrangment: Ferruccio Busoni, 1900 
6.
Estampes (3) for Piano: no 2, La soirée dans Grenade by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Valerie Tryon (Piano)
Conductor:  Kenneth Woods
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; France 

Sound Samples

Rapsodia sinfonica, Op. 66
Symphonic Variations, M. 46
Noches en los jardines de Espana (Nights in the Gardens of Spain): I. En el Generalife (In the Generalife)
Noches en los jardines de Espana (Nights in the Gardens of Spain): II. Danza lejana (Distant Dance)
Noches en los jardines de Espana (Nights in the Gardens of Spain): III. En los jardines de la Sierra de Cordoba (In the Gardens of the Sierra de Cordoba)
Goyescas, Book 1: No. 4. Quejas, o La maja y el ruisenor
Estampes: No. 2. La soiree dans Grenade (Evening in Granada)
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565

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