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Phantasmagoria: Music Of John Corigliano

Ma,Yo-yo
Release Date: 01/08/2013 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 756143   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John Corigliano
Performer:  Yo-Yo MaEmanuel AxJames Tocco
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews


The notion of fantasy bonds these four John Corigliano works in title and spirit. In the Fancy on a Bach Air, the composer forges a wistful rhapsody from the kernels of Bach's Prelude from the G major Cello Suite. The music not only sings but also speaks through Yo-Yo Ma's generous cello mastery. Corigliano's Fantasia on an Ostinato, written for the 1976 Van Cliburn Competition, takes its cue from the obsessive rhythmic pattern that dominates the second movement of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, as well as from its striking major/minor chord juxtapositions. The composer's fecund harmonic imagination inspires Emanuel Ax to dig into his kitbag of ravishing nuances, resulting in one of the pianist's
Read more finest solo recordings. As much as I enjoy the composer's orchestral version of this piece (beautifully recorded by Leonard Slatkin and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra on RCA), there's something to be said for the original piano incarnation's intimate qualities.


James Tocco premiered the five-movement Etude Fantasy (written in 1986), and his ripe, involved performance makes light of the score's murderous technical demands. Granted, Stephen Hough (Hyperion) offers greater refinements of touch and suaver phrasing in the movement for the left hand alone and the Fifths to Thirds Study. Yet Tocco's slower, declamatory stance in the final movement proves more in keeping with the music's operatic subtext. Lastly, the Ax/Ma duo premieres Phantasmagoria, a work that draws upon Corigliano's opera The Ghosts of Versailles, laced with subliminal side-commentary from Rossini and Mozart. Corigliano's quick-draw stylistic shifts faze the musicians not one whit, from loud, fanciful outbursts to the delicate disintegration in the final bars. The composer's illuminating program notes top off this major, warmly recommended release.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Fancy on a Bach Air by John Corigliano
Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 06/25/1999 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts & Letters, NYC 
Length: 7 Minutes 1 Secs. 
2.
Fantasia on an Ostinato by John Corigliano
Performer:  Emanuel Ax (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1985; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/25/1999 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts & Letters, NYC 
Length: 11 Minutes 45 Secs. 
3.
Etude Fantasy by John Corigliano
Performer:  James Tocco (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1976; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/28/1999 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts & Letters, NYC 
Length: 18 Minutes 33 Secs. 
4.
The Ghosts of Versailles: Phantasmagoria for Cello and Piano by John Corigliano
Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma (Cello), Emanuel Ax (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1993; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/25/1999 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts & Letters, NYC 
Length: 6 Minutes 22 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Fancy on a Bach Air
Fantasia on an Ostinato
I. For the Left Hand Alone
II. Legato
III. Fifths to Thirds
IV. Ornaments
V. Melody
Phantasmagoria

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