Notes and Editorial Reviews
FIORINI Violin Concertos Nos. 11 and 22 • 1Emanuel Salvador, 2Marta Magdalena Lelek (vn); Bartosz ?urakowski, Cond; Sudecka PO • MÉTIER 28533 (49:56)
Composer Karl Fiorini was born on the island of Malta in 1979. He studied at the University of Malta as well as at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal College of Music in the
United Kingdom. On this Métier Records release, we hear his First Concerto for Violin and Chamber Orchestra and the Violin Concerto No. 2, which he wrote for full-sized forces. The Sudecka Philharmonic Orchestra from Southwest Poland plays them under the leadership of Bartosz ?urakowski. Portuguese violinist Emanuel Salvador is the soloist for the First Concerto; Polish violinist Marta Magdalena Lelek plays the second. Both are among the best violinists in their respective countries and both play the pyrotechnics of these demanding works with consummate grace. Salvador’s rendition is more rhythmically incisive; Lelek’s more sensitive and lyrical. Both of Fiorini’s concertos are impressive, but they differ widely. Neither is traditional, but each has the power to move the listener with a beautifully interwoven tapestry of sound. In the First Concerto, composed in 2007, there are two short movements followed by three longer ones which contain the meat of the work. This composer gradually builds an intricate musical structure that conveys lyricism and passion. This piece has a mysterious quality and it contains unusual harmonies that seem to be unique to Fiorini. Here the soloist’s line weaves in and out of the orchestral fabric, always playing these novel harmonies. Sometimes they are powerful; sometimes delicate. Supported by the able Polish orchestra and ?urakowski’s lively conducting, Salvador has given us a rendition to cherish.
A mere two years ago, Fiorini finished his slightly more traditional and somewhat Romantic Second Concerto. It is full of angular dance rhythms often heard together with a dense sound base. As with the First Concerto, Fiorini builds his musical structure logically and systematically, but in this work, the mood is tragic and he uses much larger forces with more diverse themes. This 25-minute work is all on one track because the composer did not divide it into segments. The music has a driving force that never dissipates, and its contrasting sections flow naturally into each other accompanied by multiple changes of tempo. Beginning with the haunting lament that is her opening foray, soloist Marta Magdalena Lelek is always at the forefront. Sometimes she plays against a few instruments and at other times her sound combines with densely orchestrated passages. Although her rhythms are not as incisive as Salvador’s, her sound is elegant. She adds a quality of refinement to Fiorini’s music and she plays its fiery coda with panache. Fiorini is the artistic director of Malta’s International Spring Orchestra Festival, and the composer-in-residence at Portugal’s Orquestra do Norte. A new and important talent on the classical music scene, he has written challenging dissonant music that may take a few hearings to fully appreciate, but connoisseurs of new works will want to hear his fascinating concertos. Luckily for us Métier has recorded them in excellent sound that gives the listener the feeling of hearing them in an intimate concert hall.
FANFARE: Maria Nockin
Living and working in Paris, contemporary composer Karl Fiorini was born in Malta in 1979. With humility, eclecticism and a keen sense of harmony, Fiorini’s music retains the attention of the listener, often taking challenging and unexpected twists and turns, but retaining cogency and coherency.
Karl Fiorini’s Concerto for violin and chamber orchestra is curious and intriguing as Fiorini expands, augments and even distorts the sound of the orchestra. With a percussive opening, eclectic passages and neo-romantic tones, this is pure and fearless in its sprawling expressiveness and recalls the works of Shostakovich and Bartók. Portuguese violinist Emanuel Salvador is capable enough to realise Fiorini’s imagined sound-world. This certainly comes to life as Salvador battles against the stormy double-basses and explosive percussion in the third movement (quarter note = 126). Each note is coloured with intense feeling and embedded in a quilt of varied orchestral timbres. This is most evident in the interplay of pizzicato and percussion towards the latter half of the third movement. Altogether more estranged, yet eerily lyrical; the opening to the fourth movement (Chorale, Canone & Passacaglia) contains elements of suspense, heightened by Salvador’s musky and sometimes pungent tone. As if standing to attention at the sound of the horn in the fifth movement (Finale), the orchestra disbands its otherworldly sound and morphs into a panic-stricken crowd, jostling and colliding. All is then calmed by a klezmer-accented clarinet solo, accompanied by the strings and then echoed by the violin.
Starting slowly then blossoming into a natural wilderness, soloist Marta Magdalena Lelek’s sound is virile and breathtakingly intense as she drives Fiorini’s Schubert-Brahms style neo-romanticism into something altogether more bold and complex. In this spellbinding concerto, orchestra and conductor are attentive to the convoluted amalgamation of angst and mystery. Technically exceptional, Lelek creates both glassy and gritty sounds to evoke the peculiarity and tension evidenced by Fiorini’s composition.
In these virtuosic pieces the two soloists have precise and apt intonation and courageous performing styles. These concertos require power and momentum as they alternate between dissonance and tonal progressions. The players embrace this coming together of different themes and musical ideas with endearing sass and electrifying pyrotechnics.
-- Lucy Jeffery, MusicWeb International
Works on This Recording
Concerto for violin & chamber orchestra by Karl Fiorini
Emanuel Salvador (Violin)
Venue: Sudeten (Sudecka) Philharmonic Concert H
Length: 24 Minutes 4 Secs.
Violin Concerto No. 2 by Karl Fiorini
Marta Magdalena Lelek (Violin)
Venue: Sudeten (Sudecka) Philharmonic Concert H
Length: 25 Minutes 4 Secs.
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