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Actor: Violin Concerto, Symphony No. 2 / Trevor, Clarke, Chafetz, Slovak Radio Symphony


Release Date: 04/08/2008 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 1017   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Lee Actor
Performer:  Pip ClarkeStuart Chafetz
Conductor:  Kirk Trevor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Judging from the album photo, the typeface, and the performer biographies in which the violinist is hyperbolically described as a true "romantic" artist some four times in as many sentences, Pip Clarke must have had a hand in this production, either financial or otherwise. Truth be told, she plays extremely well--with a warm, fulsome tone that happily is not "romantic" in the sloppy, tacky sense, and with an easy virtuosity in the concerto's finale that really is quite winning. I can't really blame any artist in today's glutted market for getting a little carried away in the promotion department, even at the risk of self-parody, and the results here at least live up to the promises in the copy. I'd like to hear more of Read more Ms. Clarke.

That said, the real hero of this disc is the guy in the little brown box at the upper left of the booklet cover, composer Lee Actor. Himself a violinist, he has crafted a wonderfully tuneful, beautifully scored violin concerto that very easily could find its way into the modern repertoire. Yes, the idiom is conservative, but the whole piece is written so well that the result is just what you'd think most people would want: a work that's traditional in feel but fresh in expression. The Second Symphony is a little bit less accomplished in this respect. Its thematic material in the first movement isn't quite as interesting, and the handling of rhythm turns a touch mechanical, but the slow movement and finale are terrific, moody and ebullient by turns, and once again there's no questioning Actor's ability as an orchestral writer.

The timpani concerto is a brief, 10-minute jeu d'esprit that, as with most pieces of this type, is somewhat silly conceptually (let's face it: timpani are nothing if not expressively limited). It has the great virtue of brevity as well as some really good tunes that soloist Stuart Chafetz pounds out with evident gusto. The Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra plays this rewarding music quite comfortably under Kirk Trevor, all of which adds up to a production that leaves you wanting to hear more from all concerned. Good job!

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Violin Concerto by Lee Actor
Performer:  Pip Clarke (Violin)
Conductor:  Kirk Trevor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
2.
Symphony no 2 by Lee Actor
Conductor:  Kirk Trevor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 24 Minutes 27 Secs. 
3.
Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra by Lee Actor
Performer:  Stuart Chafetz (Timpani)
Conductor:  Kirk Trevor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
4.
Concerto for Violin by Lee Actor
Performer:  Pip Clarke (Violin)
Conductor:  Kirk Trevor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 31 Minutes 48 Secs. 
5.
Concerto for Timpani by Lee Actor
Performer:  Stuart Chafetz (Timpani)
Conductor:  Kirk Trevor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 10 Minutes 54 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Violin Concerto: III. Exhilaration

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