Marin Alsop Conducts Weill Orchestral Works on NAXOS

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Ralph
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Marin Alsop Conducts Weill Orchestral Works on NAXOS

Post by Ralph » Thu Aug 18, 2005 11:55 am

In January 2004, long before Marin Alsop's appointment in Baltimore pushed other news off front pages, she recorded three orchestral works by Kurt Weill with her Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Weill is, of course, primarily known for stage works which capture the neurotic and erotic Weimar gestalt. If many Americans know of him at all, it's probably due to Bobby Darin.

This disc includes the composer's Symphony No. 1 and Symphony No. 2 as well as a concert suite arranged by Robert Russell Bennett of "Lady in the Dark-Symphonic Nocturne."

The first symphony, composed in 1921, is a musical reflection of taut energy. Running almost 27 minutes in one movement but in three distinct parts it suggests the emergence of a tonal musical idiom at once liberated, if you will, from what came before The War to End All Wars.

Composed in 1933-4 when darkness was rapidly descending on Germany the three-movement second symphony has a gripping intensity perhaps reflecting Weill's increasingly and justifiably pessimistic mood.

The concert suite is jazzy, very jazzy and is a nice performing version of numbers from the 1940 Broadway musical, "Lady in the Dark."

I have nothing to compare these performances to - Weill's orchestral music seems to be rarely performed or recorded. But this release should serve two purposes. One is to simply open a window into an important part of Weill's career and the other is to assuage those who doubt Maestra Alsop can get first-rate performing from an orchestra that isn't at the top of anyone's list. It augurs well for her future in Baltimore.

I recommend this CD highly. Only cost $6.99 at B&N and worth every penny.

NAXOS 8.557481
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