EMMANUEL SÉJOURNÉ (b.1961): Concerto for Marimba and Strings, TAKATOMI NOBUNAGA (b.1971): Marimba Concerto “The Crossed Sonar of Dolphins”, ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Recorder Concerto in C, RV 443 (transcr. marimba Fumito Nonoya).
Catalogue Number: 03U062
Label: Oehms Classics
Reference: OC 1891
Description: This is a thoroughly enjoyable disc. We have offered a number of fine marimba concerti over the years, showcasing the instrument as a versatile concertante protagonist, and if you enjoyed them, well, here are some more. The two contemporary concerti here are tonal, melodious and entirely accessible, somewhat to the 'lighter' side of the neo-romantic concerto. The Séjourné in particular, composed by a percussionist-composer who draws on a wide range of traditions as well as the western Romantic idiom, has something of the aura of high-class film music to it, with memorable melodies and lush harmonies. The solo writing sparkles, the strong, mellow sound of the marimba playing perfectly off the sumptuous string textures. The first two movements are very neo-romantic, while the rhythmically alert finale incorporates elements of flamenco and jazz. Nobunaga's concerto was commissioned by the present soloist. Its title, the movement subtitles and the composer's rather naive note about dolphins symbolising a kind of symbiosis with the oceans have a slightly unfortunate new-age feel, but the concerto isn't really like that, though it does abound in surging, rippling effects and the first and last movements have some clicks and whistles in imitation of dolphin sounds. For the most part, though, the work is a conventionally structured three-movement, programmatic romantic concerto, though using the solo instrument more for texture and mellifluous gesture than in a traditional center-stage virtuoso role as in the Séjourné (though there is a substantial cadenza). The Vivaldi is a novelty, very agreeable, though really aimed at marimba fanatics; if you love Vivaldi but don't like the recorder you may well find the flautists who play the piece on the piccolo more authentic. Fumito Nunoya (marimba), Kurpfälzisches Chamber Orchestra; Johannes Schlaefli.