SHULAMIT RAN (b.1949): Legends (Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Daniel Barenboim), Violin Concerto (Ittai Shapira [violin], BBC Concert Orchestra; Charles Hazlewood).
Catalogue Number: 01J086
Reference: TROY 970
Description: Legends is not a programmatic work; rather, the composer has set out to illustrate in music some of the ideas evoked by the word 'legend'. Thus the music has a dramatic, narrative quality, and suggests elements of heroism and mystery. Several themes, one with a Middle-Eastern modal flavor, are employed cyclically, underpinning the work's structure and providing thematic unity. The more recent concerto is more explicitly tonal and the piece obsessively runs through the many moods and expressive capabilities of this most versatile solo instrument. The first movement is bold and dramatic; the rapid second movement a somewhat Shostakovich-like scherzo diabolico, while the concluding slow movement, prayerful and meditative, with long, aching melodic lines for the soloist (and an extended cadenza like a heartfelt soliloquy), brings the piece to a close in a mood of resigned, though not pessimistic, resolution.