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Theodorakis: Rhapsody For Cello, Etc / Bosch, Moser, Et Al

Release Date: 01/30/2007 
Label:  Coviello Classics   Catalog #: 30612   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Mikis Theodorakis
Performer:  Johannes Moser
Conductor:  Marcus Bosch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aachen Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

THEODORAKIS Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra. 1 Les amants de Téruel: Suite Marcus Bosch, cond; Johannes Moser (vc); 1 Aachen SO COVIELLO 30612 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 57:57) Live: 11/04/2005

Mikis Theodorakis (born 1925) will always be best known for his score for the film Zorba the Greek , which Read more pretty much defines Greek music for those of us who don’t know anything about it. Theodorakis has written literally hundreds of other works as well, for screen and concert hall, and he has managed to be so prolific despite his years as a political activist, member of parliament, and opponent (jailed for two years) of the Greek military junta that seized power in 1967. There’s a great deal more than Zorba to Theodorakis, and the present disc is as good an introduction to the non-political portion of his catalog as any.

The Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra, written in 1998, is a gorgeous suite of nine short pieces, each named after one of the Greek muses, although the connection between a muse and a movement’s character is not always clear (“Terpsichore,” for instance, is hardly a dance piece). It all sounds like the soundtrack for a film set on some country estate in the 18th century: lyrical, pastoral, romantic, yet also evoking antique formal grace and balance. The lyricism is fully natural here; the music was drawn from some of Theodorakis’s songs. The shifting modal harmonies sound like a cross between Vaughan Williams’s pastoralism and Hovhaness’s mystic Armenian tendencies. It’s exquisitely beautiful.

The suite from the ballet Les amants de Téruel is in the same vein, but without the distinctive melodic content. It’s more background than foreground music, with the occasional, mild, easy-to-overlook Spanish inflection (the story is about doomed 13th-century Spanish lovers). A few bits sound like Respighi in his neo-Gregorian mode. The liner notes are unclear on the various versions of this ballet; the notes list the composition date as 1958 and mention that the suite “served as a film score.” Other sources mention that the music figured in Michael Powell’s 1959 film Luna de miel , known in English variously as Honeymoon and The Lovers of Teruel , and may have been the basis of a later, separate film. I understand that many of the dance sequences (including, besides the Theodorakis, Falla’s El amor brujo , choreographed by Léonid Massine) were initially cut, but were restored in a re-release a few years ago. At any rate, I’m in no position to comment on how this 33-minute suite compares to whatever was used in a film version or in some possible staging. All I can say is that it’s less distinctive music than the Cello Rhapsody.

The two scores are presented in a spacious recording, flattering to all involved, and the concert performances are polished and committed. Heartily recommended for the Cello Rhapsody.

FANFARE: James Reel

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
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Works on This Recording

Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra, AST 306 by Mikis Theodorakis
Performer:  Johannes Moser (Cello)
Conductor:  Marcus Bosch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aachen Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1997; Greece 
Length: 24 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Les amants de Téruel, AST 118 by Mikis Theodorakis
Conductor:  Marcus Bosch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aachen Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1959; Paris, France 
Length: 8 Minutes 10 Secs. 

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