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Osias Wilenski: Carmen's Revenge

Wilenski / Lopez / Puente
Release Date: 11/16/2010 
Label:  Navona   Catalog #: 5837   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Osias WilenskiUnspecified
Performer:  Maria Rosa LopezSalvador FrancesYana TsanowaOsias Wilenski,   ... 
Conductor:  Osias Wilenski
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 52 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"With Carmen’s Revenge, we have a change of pace for the otherwise mostly instrumental selections in this collection. Wilenski has written four operas, but whether he counts the present work among them I’m not sure. This three-act work requires only just over a half hour to present, and the forces involved comprise only 12 performers, including soloists, conductor, chorus, and instrumentalists. I suppose one should grant the work at least “chamber opera” status, as it is longer than Milhaud’s three Opéras-Minutes combined. The composer describes this piece as his projection of the original character into a modern or imaginary society, and he has tried to give her a true Spanish identity (even down to her pronunciation of certain Read more French texts). The very brief overture begins with several immediately recognizable quotes from the Bizet masterpiece, but thereafter, Wilenski’s music bears scant resemblance to that of Bizet, save for the isolated quote. I doubt that it’s necessary to rehearse in any detail the slender storyline of the work. Essentially, it involves Carmen, who has aged (albeit not emotionally: She is still the 19th-century seductress that she was in Bizet), and her interactions with the impotent Don Juan, the homosexual Valentino, and the incestuous Oedipus. These drive her to her therapist, Doctor Drum, favored pupil of the redoubtable Sigmund Freud. It seems that her fate with these “three idiots” is worse than the death that she experienced at the end of the original opera (I trust this statement isn’t a “spoiler” for the one or two readers of this review who do not know the plot of Carmen). The style of the music is rather expressionistic—some of it sounds almost Schoenbergian. It may be a tougher nut to crack for some auditors than most of the other pieces under review.

The composer describes his Three Movements for flute and piano as a “light piece,” but it nevertheless draws from complex tonal resources in its “Praeludium,” “Siciliano,” and “Scherzo,” the three movements being connected by solo flute cadenzas. The Romances for clarinet and piano was based upon an earlier work for a larger ensemble, and utilizes similar sonorities as does Three Movements, but reflects a more generally improvisatory nature. Its nine short sections evoke a moody atmosphere with substantial contrasts between one section and the next. Essentially, it inhabits the world of expressionism...This is a composer worth exploring and savoring...Note that the Navona disc contain[s] interactive material, including study scores and additional program notes. Two thumbs up, all around."

FANFARE: David DeBoor Canfield

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Works on This Recording

Carmen's Revenge (La Vengaza de Carmen), opera in 3 acts by Osias Wilenski
Performer:  Maria Rosa Lopez (Soprano), Salvador Frances (Clarinet), Yana Tsanowa (Violin),
Osias Wilenski (Piano), Jose Guna (Piccolo), Ferran Armengol (Percussion),
Marina Comas (Cello), Jose Guna (Flute)
Conductor:  Osias Wilenski
Written: 2008 
Date of Recording: 11/2009/02/2010 
Venue:  Coryland Studio, Barcelona 
Length: 31 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Movements (3), for flute & piano by Osias Wilenski
Performer:  Osias Wilenski (Piano), Albert Mora (Flute)
Conductor:  Osias Wilenski
Written: 1977 
Date of Recording: 05/2007 
Venue:  Transvanguard Studio, Barcelona 
Length: 9 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Romances, for clarinet & piano by Osias Wilenski
Performer:  Salvador Frances (Clarinet), Osias Wilenski (Piano)
Conductor:  Osias Wilenski
Date of Recording: 04/30/2010 
Venue:  Coryland Studio, Barcelona 
Length: 10 Minutes 2 Secs. 

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