First recordings of two powerful works from the pen of one of our major composers, John McCabe, who is celebrating his sixtieth birthday this year. Of Time and the River (the title is taken from Thomas Wolfe's novel) is actually the published title of McCabe's Fourth Symphony, written in 1993/4 to a commission by the BBC. The Flute Concerto was written for James Galway in 1989/90 and he gave the first performance of it in 1990 with Michael Tilson Thomas and the London Symphony Orchestra who commissioned the work. Here it is played by the outstanding young flautist Emily Beynon in her first recording for Hyperion.
Album performed by pianist, composer, arranger and conductor Solomon Schwartz (London, 1913-2002), aka 'Stanley Black', leading the London Festival Orchestra and Chorus. Black was one of the most famous, prolific and eclectic conductors during postwar at Britain. He went through several orchestras and bands, worked with British and American jazz musicians, conducted the orchestra of the RAF during the Second World War, he became director of the BBC Orchestra, was highly acclaimed in radio and television and later went on to record for Decca label full time. Stanley Black made an outstanding contribution to film music, he composed scores for over 200 films and music in general rushing almost all musical genres.
In August 1942, a concert took place in Leningrad that defies belief. A year earlier, the Germans had begun the deadliest siege in history which would kill three quarters of a million civilians. In the midst of the terror, a group of starving musicians assembled to perform Shostakovich's 7th Symphony in what would become a defiant moment in the city's ultimate survival. Historian Amanda Vickery and BBC Radio 3 presenter Tom Service reveal the extraordinary story of triumph of the human spirit over unspeakable terror. Amanda shows how Leningrad was simultaneously persecuted by Stalin and Hitler, the 'twin monsters' of the 20th century. Meeting with siege survivors and uncovering diaries and photographs, she reveals the reality of life in Leningrad as it literally starved to death. Meanwhile, Tom explores the thin line walked by Dmitri Shostakovich as the composer came perilously close to becoming a victim of Stalin's paranoia, and reveals how, as Leningrad starved, his 7th Symphony was performed around the world, uniting audiences against a common enemy before finally returning to the city.
Documentary following the inspirational Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste and choir as they make their debut visit to the UK. It captures the latest step in an extraordinary odyssey for the world's first all-black orchestra, formed 20 years ago from a group of self-taught church musicians in Kinshasa, the capital city of the turbulent DRC. From the moment the 100-strong party led by conductor Armand Diangienda touches down at Manchester Airport, we follow them night and day as they work side by side with the Halle orchestra and choir and later at the Southbank in London with members of the National Youth Orchestra, BBC orchestras, Southbank Sinfonia and more. Amongst the hectic schedule of instrument repairs, seminars, rehearsals and performances, they still find time for a visit to Manchester United's Old Trafford ground, and down south take a trip to the Proms and a flight on the London Eye that turns into a joyous spontaneous singalong. The climax is a concert at London's Royal Festival Hall, with a programme embracing the rousing ode to brotherhood of Beethoven's 9th, along with a symphony written by members of the orchestra.
This is a project very close to the heart of the BBC Philharmonic’s Principal Conductor, something reflected in the passionate performances he creates. BBC Music magazine commented early on that ‘Noseda’s affection for the music is evident throughout’. Even at the time of his appointment, he spoke of his ambition to record the works of the twentieth-century Italian composers, and he has since recorded works by Respighi and Dallapiccola. ‘Gianandrea Noseda understands the music’s lyrical strength and fragile sound-world perfectly; the playing of the BBC Philharmonic is exemplary, too’, wrote The Guardian on the Dallapiccola disc.
This particular recording has been a favourite of mine since its initial release nearly 30 years ago. Stephen Kovacevich (or Bishop-Kovacevich. if you prefer) appeals as 1 of those pianists whose playing is rather forthright & precise, giving us here a rather lyrical presentation of the concerti full of grace & good demeanor. A little on the light side compared to those who pound out their Beethovens some would think.