Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
Here is yet another winning collection of orchestral music by Don Gillis, courtesy of Albany, Ian Hobson, and the Sinfonia Varsovia. The outstanding discoveries here are the two rhapsodies for harp and for trumpet. The former mingles French influences (one of its main themes sounds amazingly like Poulenc) with pure, Copland-esque Americana. The mixture is striking, to say the least, kind of like hot dogs with truffles, but once you get used to it you realize that what we have here is a major addition to the slender repertoire for harp and orchestra. The Trumpet Rhapsody was written for Doc Severinsen, no less, though alas he never played it on The Tonight Show. Both the instrument and the setting are tailor-made for Gillis' patented brand of symphonic pop/jazz, and both rhapsodies receive outstanding performances by Anna Sikorzak-Olek, Krzysztof Bednarczyk, and the Sinfonia Varsovia.
Twinkletoes originally was to be part of a larger ballet project, but Gillis abandoned it and parceled out the music already written. Like the Short Overture it's a zippy chip off the master's workbench. The Encore Concerto--so-called because of its brevity, but at 18 minutes it's not really that short--already has been recorded by Albany, with Alan Feinberg as soloist, a performance just that much livelier and more rhythmically charged, especially in the finale, than this one. Had it not been for the earlier release I would have little to criticize, since Hobson's playing is certainly fluid and elegant, while the orchestra (as usual) offers warm and easy-going accompaniments. But I prefer the sharper, edgier focus of the earlier version. Still, and especially for the two Rhapsodies, this disc is a must for the growing legion of Gillis fans.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com