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Giannini, Carbon, Mckinley: Works For Double Bass / Fredrickson


Release Date: 10/25/2005 
Label:  Mmc Recordings   Catalog #: 2138   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Vittorio GianniniJohn CarbonWilliam Thomas McKinley
Performer:  Richard Fredrickson
Conductor:  Kirk Trevor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 47 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews





Although the double bass may not be everybody?s first choice for the role of solo instrument, this superlative program of three more or less quarter-hour scores packs a resourceful emotional punch.


As my colleague Walter Simmons persuasively argues in his groundbreaking book Voices in the Wilderness: Six American Neo-Romantic Composers (Scarecrow Press)?a volume well worth investigation by anyone with even a passing interest in our country?s serious music?Vittorio Giannini (1903?1966) is high on the list of almost forgotten American masters from the middle of the last Read more century. Although his reputation rests on operas, such as The Taming of the Shrew and The Scarlet Letter , his catalog encompasses a considerable body of orchestral music, highlighted by five numbered and two unnumbered symphonies and several concertos. Among the latter is this shattering single-movement tone poem-like Psalm 130 of 1963, which graphically embodies the anguish and despair of the Biblical text??My Lord, why hast Thou forsaken me?? While the impetus of the work may have autobiographical roots, Giannini has focused the intensity of his feelings in a universalized manner that combines both rhapsodic and concertante elements into a musical statement that is never less than potent but always coherent. Couched in the darker and more abrasive?but still essentially neo-Romantic?idiom of his later years, this is a work that encourages us to hope the recording industry will explore his powerful later symphonies.


John Carbon (b. 1951) is a composer who has recently come to attention through the release of half-a-dozen works, many of them on the MMC label, which show a particular affinity for the concerto form. A pupil of such illustrious figures as Thea Musgrave, Paul Cooper, and Peter Racine Fricker, Carbon writes solidly crafted music in a medium-modernistic style infused with notable dramatic flair. And this concertante work for double bass, whose title Endangered Species draws a direct parallel between the biological and musicological realms, encapsulates a wide-ranging scenario which is always technically provocative and musically compelling.


Our third composer?the inexhaustibly prolific New Englander William McKinley (b. 1937) and the guiding spirit of the MMC company?is perhaps one of the most industrious yet relatively unacknowledged talents of his generation. This Passacaglia, Variations, and Finale is a typically flamboyant example of his densely eclectic idiom that, while perhaps lacking the utmost in individuality, nevertheless makes for an exciting amalgam of a comprehensive range of sources (several of the variations distantly reflect McKinley?s early years as a jazz pianist) that is at the furthest remove from boring or insipid.


Frederickson has to be a virtuoso to negotiate the demands made by all three scores on his instrument, which he manages to make sound far from unwieldy?in fact, he reaches heights of songful expressivity comparable to those achieved by his great predecessor Gary Karr (who commissioned the Giannini), while Trevor and his Slovak musicians offer strong support.


Though slightly shorter than the average compact disc, this unusual release deserves your fullest consideration and ultimate purchase. A terrific job, brilliantly well done.


FANFARE: Paul A. Snook
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Works on This Recording

1.
Endangered Species by John Carbon
Performer:  Richard Fredrickson (Double Bass)
Conductor:  Kirk Trevor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2002; USA 
Length: 15 Minutes 51 Secs. 
2.
Passacaglia by William Thomas McKinley
Performer:  Richard Fredrickson (Double Bass)
Conductor:  Kirk Trevor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Length: 13 Minutes 15 Secs. 
3.
Psalm CXX by Vittorio Giannini
Performer:  Richard Fredrickson (Double Bass)
Conductor:  Kirk Trevor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; USA 
Length: 17 Minutes 39 Secs. 

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