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Elmer Bernstein, Albeniz / Christopher Parkening

Release Date: 10/24/2000 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 56859   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Elmer BernsteinIsaac AlbenizJack Marshall
Performer:  Christopher Parkening
Conductor:  Elmer BernsteinJack Marshall
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony OrchestraCapitol Studio Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 48 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Few combinations of solo and orchestra are as inherently dysfunctional as Guitar Concertos. No matter how small the orchestra or judiciously pared down the accompaniments, the solo always gets swamped, and the guitar's limited dynamic range makes it impossible to hear in today's large halls, at least without amplification (which many acoustic guitar players resist for reasons that elude me). That's why it took recordings to give Rodrigo's famous works (including the Concierto de Aranjuez) their lease on life, and the same probably will be true of this latest entry by Elmer Bernstein. This is a pity, because Bernstein's new work strikes me as incontestably the finest piece ever composed for this
Read more combination, and it deserves the widest possible exposure. The music wears its Spanish influences lightly: a hint of Nights in the Gardens of Spain here, La Vida Breve there, a smidgeon of Rodrigo in the second movement. But the surging lyricism and opulent (but never dense or heavy) orchestral textures remain vintage Bernstein, and I can't imagine a finer performance than this one by Christopher Parkening. He plays with pellucid tone and nary a trace of that annoying squeaking and sliding over the frets that disfigures so many classical guitar discs--and he has the composer himself on the podium.

Jack Marshall's Essay for Guitar (a mini-concerto in three brief movements) passes time agreeably; it's high on charm and well crafted, though not particularly distinctive melodically. However, Marshall's arrangement for guitar and orchestra of Albeniz's La Vega is very well put together and avoids the usual feeling of constriction that afflicts so many solo guitar transcriptions of piano music. At about 14 minutes, it's a substantial piece of work and it deserves to be played more often than seems to have been the case up to this point. Only 48 minutes long, this disc isn't as well filled as it could have been; but finding couplings for guitar concertos, especially new ones by non-Spaniards, can't be easy. As it stands, Bernstein's masterpiece really deserves the widest currency. It's a marvel and a joy to see this fine composer of film scores getting a rare hearing for his concert music. [1/3/2001]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Concerto for Guitar by Elmer Bernstein
Performer:  Christopher Parkening (Guitar)
Conductor:  Elmer Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 21 Minutes 46 Secs. 
La Vega by Isaac Albeniz
Performer:  Christopher Parkening (Guitar)
Conductor:  Elmer Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 14 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Jack Marshall 
Essay for Guitar and Orchestra by Jack Marshall
Performer:  Christopher Parkening (Guitar)
Conductor:  Jack Marshall
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capitol Studio Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 05/19/1967 
Venue:  Hollywood, California 
Length: 11 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is an ADD recording. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Great performances; noisy CD September 10, 2014 By Steven L. (Baltimore, MD) See All My Reviews "I purchased this CD primarily for the Albeniz La Vega track. For me, that is the highlight of this CD. The other compositions are interesting, but not overly persuasive. However, the quality of Parkening's playing is marred by the background noise on portions of this CD, including (unfortunately) the Albeniz track. There is quite a lot of intermittent popping and crackling, which detracts considerable from enjoying the music. I tried the CD on 3 different players, with the same results. I had purchased, and then returned, a different copy of this CD from a different source before returning it (thinking that it was that specific CD that was flawed)and purchasing this CD from ArkivMusic. Evidently, the problem is in the pressing or master of this CD. Most unfortunate, because the playing is excellent." Report Abuse
 A Finding! June 1, 2013 By Antonio Silva (Vale de Lobos, Sintra) See All My Reviews "This is a remarkable recording with high quality sound and a fantastic music and performance. Did not knew the concerts of Elmer Bernstein and Jack Marshall. In different styles, the first is remarkable, and I loved just right the first hearing. The second, we have to listen it very carefully because the first impression was bad. Nevertheless after going to like it very much. I strongly recommed." Report Abuse
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