CD REVIEWS – June Part 2

Capture.JPGLove

Simone Kermes

SONY

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The late 16th and the 17th century is a golden age, a time of cultural flowering, because, in the words of Simone Kermes, the “poetry and music merged to form such a  rofound, honest and at the same time touching mood that we can speak of consummate beauty in the most exalted sense.” Love is a collection of  beautiful baroque and renaissance love songs that reflect the versatility of love – passionate, dramatic and addictive – by the most popular composers of the time. Simone Kermes is a dramatic coloratura soprano and multiaward winner. For her solo albums she has received a number of international awards, Gramophone Magazine’s Recording of the Month and some of Russia’s highest cultural awards. Opera commitments have taken her to New York, Paris, Lisbon, Copenhagen, Moscow, Beijing and German state opera. Of particular interest Kermes gives a fine rendition of Monteverdi’s Amoramor, a very realistic Mad song from John Eccles’s, John Dowland’s delightful Now, I know I needs must part, Henry Purcell’s If love’s a sweet passion and his most tragic Lament from Dido and Aeneas. Also included are works by Antoine Boësset, and Luis de Briçeño who add to the emotional roller-coaster of the ride in song! The album, cast of instruments, and recording setup is as such that the “pop song” quality, the contemporary and eternal spirit and the immediacy of these compositions is revealed. They’re all sung with the unique legato, pure, and silver quality that makes Simone Kermes’ voice so appealing. Love is Simone Kermes’ most intimate and personal album yet.

– Emyr Evans


Capture.JPGFantasia

Alliage Quintet with Sabine Meyer

SONY

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The Alliage Quintet unite with German clarinetist Sabine Meyer on a journey of wonderful works by Borodin, Stravinsky, Dukas, Bernstein and Shostakovich. This is a unique selection of works  as they are all based on famous fairytales, narratives and stories, e.g. Goethe’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Voltaire’s much-travelled Candide or the Russian folklore Firebird. The performance opens with Borodin’s Prince Igor: Polovetsian Dances which is a fun, lighthearted piece. The opening of Stravinsky’s Introduction from Firebird is powerful. This quintet plays with great imagination. Their playing is extremely narrative-like where every detail is essential to the story. The quintet has not failed to portray the quirky nature of the work, particularly in the  of Variationthe Firebird. We are then transported into a completely different work, the Der Zauberlehrling by Dukas. The diverse tones from all of the instruments makes this enjoyable to listen to. In Bernstein’s Candide: Overture, the clarinet really shines here, in which we hear the bright and rich tones. The most enjoyable work out of the five is Shostakovich’s Five Pieces for Two Violins and Piano. The first movement, Praeludium, is mellow and beautiful, a quiet introduction to a series of different characters in this work. The Gavotte evokes a childlike playfulness, innocent and simple. We then move on to the Elegie, which is quite the opposite to the Gavotte. The saxophone and clarinet arrangement is beautiful, with a modern take on it. Meyer’s playing is superb and her ability to tell a story is brilliant.

– LK


Capture.JPGBeethoven Piano Trios

Seraphim Trio

G major op.1 No.2. D major op.70 No.1
‘Ghost’. Bb op.11 ‘Gassenhauer’

Anna Goldsworthy (piano)
Helen Ayres (violin)
Timothy Nankervis

ABC

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The well-known and much loved popular Seraphim Trio have performed together for more than 20 years, building contemporary audiences and teaching the next generation of performers. They each work in different state capital cities and one has to wonder when and where do they rehearse! However to the pleasure of many of their audiences they appear at various festivals and can be heard regularly on ABC Classic FM and the MBS Network. Mozart and Haydn had a profound effect on the development of the form of the piano trio and it was Beethoven who moved the structure forward. Three of the 12 Trios, the G major and D major were written during Beethoven’s 20s and they neatly contrast with the Bb Trio (Ghost) written in 1808 when he was emerging from his middle period.  Lots of lovely Haydnesque and Mozartian moments occur in each work particularly in the lyrical  expressive slow movements whilst the outer movements show an appealing energy with balanced texturing and beautifully shaped phrases. The dramatic opening of the Bb work provides a strong anticipation of the maturer style and reflects the newly discovered decisiveness. The smallest work, the op.11 the Gassenhauer was originally composed for clarinet, cello and piano with the last movement based on a song Before I go to work I must have something to eat. 

– EE


 

These reviews appeared in the June edition of Fine Music Magazine – you can subscribe to our monthly magazine and have it posted to your home or business or click the link here to read online.

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