Gubaidulina: The Canticle Of The Sun, Etc / Numajiri, Et Al

Release Date: 6/19/2007
Catalog Number: EMI 57153
Number of Discs: 1

Physical Format:

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Notes and Editorial Reviews
The first sounds heard in Sofia Gubaidulina's Canticle of the Sun, an ascending series of strained solo cello portamentos, gives the impression that we're in for some angrily distressed music making. The sudden appearance of the female chorus intoning eerie, Ligeti-style chords only confirms this. So, it comes as a pleasant surprise when the music then transforms into beautiful triadic harmony, with the full chorus entering on terraced arpeggios. This simple yet dynamic harmonic pattern forms the lynchpin of the entire work, which is really Eastern in concept and design and features some spectacular solo work from Rostropovich, along with startling percussion interjections and Latin verses sung in ethereal tones by the London Voices.

Music for Flute, Strings, and Percussion also could be described as Eastern in modality, especially with its Kabuki-style flute writing and clangorous percussion. But this is all set within a 20th century orchestral framework and follows a distinctly Western-style dramatic narrative. After a frenetic opening "movement" containing some arresting flute gymnastics (thrillingly played by Emmanuel Pahud) the subdued middle section begins stealthily with a sequence of Ivesian chord progressions on the strings. The "finale" features breathtakingly original instrumental effects (the players make some unearthly sounds by actually breathing through their instruments) that bring to mind the startling innovations of George Crumb. Rostropovich leads the London Symphony in a stunning performance of this powerful, strangely beautiful music. The recording is quite realistic, which makes it a shame that I can't rate this disc a 10 due to the fact that EMI's booklet lists 14 tracks, when in actuality there are only 9, leaving the last three sections of Canticles and the whole of Music for Flute, Strings, and Percussion on one track. Not exactly user friendly. [2/6/2002]
--Victor Carr Jr.,
Works on This Recording
1. Music for Flute, Strings and Percussion by Sofia Gubaidulina
Performer: Simon Carrington (Percussion), Emmanuel Pahud (Piccolo), Jeremy Cornes (Percussion), Dave Jackson (Percussion), Neil Percy (Percussion), Emmanuel Pahud (Flute), Emmanuel Pahud (Bass Flute), Emmanuel Pahud (Alto Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1994 ; Russia
2. The Canticle of the Sun by Sofia Gubaidulina
Performer: Simon Carrington (Percussion), Mstislav Rostropovich (Percussion), Neil Percy (Percussion), Mstislav Rostropovich (Cello), John Alley (Celesta)
Conductor: Ryusuke Numajiri
Orchestra/Ensemble: London Voices
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1997 ; Russia
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