NIKOLAUS FHEODOROFF (1931-2011): Concerto for Violin, String Orchestra and Timpani, MIKHAIL KOLLONTAI (b.1952): Violin Concerto, Op. 61 “Blue Ray”, Op. 61.

Catalogue Number: 09T065

Label: TYXart

Reference: TXA 17093

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: Fheodoroff was an Austrian composer, conductor, organist, and academic who worked for Austrian Radio and made important contributions to the editions of standard works of church music. He was a student and friend of Josef Mathias Hauer (the 'other' inventor of dodecaphony), and edited his writings for publication. By the time he wrote this lively, expressive, very tonal, three-movement concerto in 1994, there is no trace of Hauer's expressed contempt for "ideas, programmes or feelings" (to be fair, this seems to have been a polemical stance from which Hauer's own music often deviates) if Fheodoroff had ever subscribed to it; the work is full-bloodedly neo-romantic. The first movement is dramatic and energetic, with a delicious neo-classical second subject which comes out of nowhere to subvert our expectations of seriousness. The middle movement is in three parts; warmly lyrical, faster and livelier, and an impassioned recapitulation of the opening section. The short finale is energetic and assertive, with a sudden oasis of uncertainty at its center. The Kollontay is considerably less conventional and more contemporary in style, though it stops short of outright avant-gardism, and there is an underlying sense of tonality to many passages. The composer's almost incomprehensible program note seems to suggest that there is some kind of programmatic content about the act of playing the violin, and certainly the soloist requires well-nigh superhuman stamina and technical resources, in constant conflict with the overbearing orchestra. The large, complex first movement may recall Schnittke or Tishchenko; the middle one is a trenchant scherzo of sorts, and the melancholy, slow and lyrical finale has some programmatic connection to the imagery of the nightingale's longing for the rose in Persian poetry. Why the concerto is subtitled "Blue Ray" is anyone's guess. Elena Denisova (violin), Collegium Musicum Carinthia, Moscow Radio and TV Orchesra (Kollontai); Alexei Kornienko.

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