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’Round Midnight - Hommage To Thelonious Monk / Emanuele Arciuli

Arciuli / Monk / Reed / Caine
Release Date: 07/12/2011 
Label:  Stradivarius   Catalog #: 33898   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Eric ReedUri CaineAlberto BarberoFred Hersch,   ... 
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



’ROUND MIDNIGHT: HOMMAGE TO THELONIOUS MONK Emanuele Arciuli (pn) STRADIVARIUS 33898 (62:32)


MONK _’Round Midnight. REED Variation. CAINE Variation. BARBERO The Monk and Me. HERSCH Little Midnight Nocturne. Read more class="COMPOSER12">KERNIS Superstar Etude No. 2. QUAYLE Monk Sits Down to Write a Tune. RZEWSKI Variation. BABBITT A Gloss on ’Round Midnight. ANDREONI Slinking Around Midnight. THOMAS Variation. DEL CORNO Precious Time. TORKE Variation. BOCCADORO Midnight Variation 1-3. HARBISON Monk Trope. CRUMB Variation. DAUGHERTY Monk in the Kitchen. BOLCOM _11.59 (Think of Miles Davis Playing It in F Minor). LEVINSON Midnight Dream. HOFFMAN Cadenza and Finale. ZEITLIN Quiet Now


At first, I didn’t know what to make of this. The incomparable jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk’s ’Round Midnight , a moody, sensuous ballad introduced on disc by Cootie Williams’s orchestra in 1944, has been recorded hundreds of times, occasionally with lyrics contributed without Monk’s approval by Bernie Hanighen, but primarily as a vehicle for improvised variations by a pianist or featured soloist(s). Since every improvised solo is intended to reflect something of the instrumentalist’s creativity—and it’s considered déclassé in jazz circles to mimic the composer’s version—no one ever performs the piece “as written.” And yet there’s an inherent tension involved, as the soloists attempt to put their stamp on the piece without distorting it beyond recognition. This is especially difficult in the case of Monk’s music; since he was a unique instrumentalist in terms of his harmonic sense, timing, accents, and rhythm, his approach cannot be copied literally, yet going too far in another direction threatens to lose the distinctive feeling Monk worked into his compositions. Putting a slightly different spin on this practice, Emanuele Arciuli commissioned a number of classical composers of greater and lesser renown to take the theme and treat it as raw material for a single variation each, in order to construct a multifaceted, interrelated sequence to be presented as a single entity, à la Bach’s Goldberg Variations . But with each composer providing a distinct point of view, would the result be a stylistic mish-mosh—and what would it have to do with the sui generis experience of Monk’s own music?


Not a lot, as it turns out—not that that’s a completely bad thing. Despite the origin of the source material, and the inclusion of three jazz pianist/composers—Eric Reed, Uri Caine, and Fred Hersch—in the mix, this should not be thought of as a program of crossover or Third Stream intent. Listeners who are unfamiliar with the piece in its original format, or are able to disassociate it from its admittedly rich jazz history, should have no problem enjoying the variety of rhythmic and harmonic settings, unified by the common if diversely employed thematic echoes; for others a simple dose of irony may suffice. All but three of these variations are under three minutes, and this brevity helps to emphasize the contrasting tactics and tonal maneuvers, which range from Alberto Barbero’s Impressionist atmosphere to Gerald Levinson’s hovering Messiaenic chords; from John Harbison’s luxurious paraphrase of the melody to Milton Babbitt’s dreamy disguised intervals; and from Frederic Rzewski’s wry, pointillist delineation to Matthew Quayle’s speculative, Broadway-tinged prelude. If several variations—Aaron Jay Kernis’s flashy, exuberant romp; Michael Daugherty’s tango-like boisterousness; and Michael Torke’s cascading rock-inspired arpeggiations—seem furthest from Monk, emotionally and formally, others imply a trace of Monk’s concise, often craggy phrasing in evocative ways—Augusta Read Thomas’s stark, dramatic crescendo; William Bolcom’s mysterious morceau ; and Carlo Boccadoro’s three brief studies, alternately buoyant, contemplative, and brusque.


Emanuele Arciuli negotiates this rather challenging program with aplomb and moreover instills it with a surprising coherent fluency, given the inherent diversity. It is unclear from the booklet data if this presentation was edited together from two live performances two years apart, but that’s not really of consequence—nor is the unnecessary, unrelated encore. All things considered, and with a few minor exceptions, it’s an unexpected delight.


FANFARE: Art Lange
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Works on This Recording

1.
Variation on 'Round Midnight, for piano by Eric Reed
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (), Emanuele Arciuli (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 1 Minutes 43 Secs. 
2.
Variation on 'Round Midnight, for piano by Uri Caine
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (Piano), Emanuele Arciuli ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 2 Minutes 37 Secs. 
3.
The Monk and Me, for piano by Alberto Barbero
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (Piano), Emanuele Arciuli ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 3 Minutes 2 Secs. 
4.
Little Midnight Nocturne, for piano by Fred Hersch
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (), Emanuele Arciuli (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 2 Minutes 55 Secs. 
5.
Variation on 'Round Midnight, for piano by Frederic Rzewski
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (), Emanuele Arciuli (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 2 Minutes 19 Secs. 
6.
A Gloss on 'Round Midnight, for piano by Milton Babbitt
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (), Emanuele Arciuli (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 1 Minutes 55 Secs. 
7.
Slinking Around Midnight, for piano by Roberto Andreoni
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (Piano), Emanuele Arciuli ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 2 Minutes 20 Secs. 
8.
Variation on 'Round Midnight, for piano by Augusta Read Thomas
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (Piano), Emanuele Arciuli ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 0 Minutes 50 Secs. 
9.
Precious Time, for piano by Filippo Del Corno
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (Piano), Emanuele Arciuli ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 6 Minutes 13 Secs. 
10.
Midnight Variations, for piano by Carlo Boccadoro
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (Piano), Emanuele Arciuli ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 5 Minutes 11 Secs. 
11.
Monk trope, for piano by John Harbison
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (), Emanuele Arciuli (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 2 Minutes 22 Secs. 
12.
Variation on 'Round Midnight, for piano by David Crumb
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (), Emanuele Arciuli (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 2 Minutes 36 Secs. 
13.
Monk in the Kitchen, for piano by Michael Daugherty
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (), Emanuele Arciuli (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 2 Minutes 51 Secs. 
14.
11:59 (Think of Miles Davis playing it in F minor), for piano by William Bolcom
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (Piano), Emanuele Arciuli ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 0 Minutes 31 Secs. 
15.
Midnight Dream, for piano by Gerald Levinson
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (), Emanuele Arciuli (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
16.
Cadenza and Finale, for piano by Joel Hoffman
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (), Emanuele Arciuli (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 7 Minutes 20 Secs. 
17.
Round Midnight by Thelonious Monk
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (), Emanuele Arciuli (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 19 Secs. 
18.
Quiet Now, for piano by Denny Zeitlin
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (Piano), Emanuele Arciuli ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 2 Minutes 8 Secs. 
19.
Monk Sits Down to Write a Tune..., for piano by Mattew Quayle
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (), Emanuele Arciuli (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 4 Minutes 7 Secs. 
20.
Superstar Etude No. 2, for piano by Aaron J. Kernis
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (Piano), Emanuele Arciuli ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 3 Minutes 52 Secs. 
21.
Variation on 'Round Midnight, for piano by Michael Torke
Performer:  Emanuele Arciuli (), Emanuele Arciuli (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 2 Minutes 23 Secs. 

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