12/21/13. Like most admireers of the music of Alan Hovanhess, I first became acquainted with him through Mysterious Mountain, the famous Reiner/Chicago Symphony recording from the late 50's on Rca. After discovering Schwarz and his Seattle Symphony's efforts, I have expanded my explorations to many of his works, an almost bottomless well of harmony, rhythms and exquisite melodies, several releases on the Naxos label. This one is a gem, containing the 2nd Guitar Concerto, the Symphony #63, "Loon Lake," and the "Fanfare for the New Atlantis." The Royal Scottish Orchestra, an ensemble used by. Georg Tintner in his fine and under-rated Naxos cycle of Bruckner Symphonies. Thedy perform this Hovanhess music quite well, opening with the glorious shrt piece, "Fanfare for the Nw Atlantis," written in ___________. And first performed in _______. This is very interesting and stimulating materirial and the identification of the composer arrives in under the 1st minute of this 6:57 long piece. Sort of like a concert overture, or very short poem, it builds quickly to a wasrm and spleandid climax for full orchestra, having begun with quiet deep brass and a distant and evocative solo trumpet intoning the theme of the work. I was immediately reminded of both Mysterious Mountain and his "Prayer of St. Gregory.After the announccement of the theme on solo trumprt, the brass choir re-enters with more volume to support the solooist, and the music becomes more formed.. As the music takes on the tone of a brass ensemble, single strokes from tubulazr bells are tossed into the mix, further increasing the glorious tone and then the strings, proprly weighted, blend in , enriching the music even more. At about the _____mark, the trumpet introduces rapid scales of dotted notes, increasing the pagentry of the fanfareand I BEGIN TO WISH THIS MUSIC HAD ANOTHER 15 OR MORE MINUTES TO PLAY. UNFORTUNEATLEY, IT IS OVER JUST AS it reaches it's musical summit, high in the clouds. Conductor Steart Robertson and his Royal Scotts play exquisitely and lead the music to it's forte end.
The 2nd Guitar concerto is next and it has 4 movements, lasts 26:05 aNd the soloist is the Bolivian Guitarist Javier Caleron in this 1985 composition. An eerie and beautiful sring melody,. Pricipally in the violins, sets the Mood of the piece, as one of mystery, solitude and contemplation. These are themes that imbue most of Hovhaness' musical products, and his audiences seem to love them. I guess you could say, there are two kinds of people in the world, those who know and love his music, and those poor souls who neither know his works, except for Myst. Mtn., but are largely ignaorrant of his many treasures. I used to be in the second group but, now I am learnignas much as I can get my mitts on. Unfortuneatley, Hovhaness is woefully under. Repesented on CD. WE NEED MORE!!
THE GUITAR CONCERTO OPENS WITH A QUIET ANDANTE INTRODUCTION OF _______WITH THE SOLOIST HAVING "SNUCK IN" TO JOIN THE SCOTTS AND ROBERTSON SO DELICATELY, ONE BARELY NOTICES HIS APPEARANCE. The evocative main melody is ever so tender and the attention to detail by Robertson, is really fine. Calderon plays with a great deal of beauty and finess, we are in his hands, gently. About this time, I can once again state that this music needs to be heard out of doors, not in a concet hall, but amidst nature. The second part of the 1st movement, is an allegrovivace and , like a SURGEON, CALDERON DANCES AND cavorts with light and very well defined notes, no strumming or other Spanish influences. The 2nd movemnt is an allegro giusto of 4:35 with the soloist and orchestra plucking their way through a light and pleasent dance melody. The, at 1:50. the orcchestra takes over for a bit, with full strings, in what soundslike a Scottish "cap", a dance of a rondo style. The soloist and ensemble rejoin eazch other again at 02:17 and restate the principal themewith a bit more flourishes from our guitarist and togather they dance their way to the conclusion. The heart of the concerto is the long Andante, subtitled mysterioso con nobilita and then andante maestoso. This sectionruns 10:55 and I am grateful for it's length and exquisite presentation. To say it is both nobile and majestic is an understatement in the highest degree exquisite 1985 concerto ends with and "Adagio, allegro giusto" of a mere 4:26. I really think I WOULD DRIVE TO SEATTLE, 7 HOURS FROM OWR NE WASHINGTON HOME TO HEAR THEM PLAY THIS FINE MUSIC, UNDER GERARD SCHRARZ, OF COURSE. This iseasily a 4+star performance of 4.5 star music.
This Naxos CD concludes with the Symphony #63, "Loon Lake," written in 1988 it runs 26:27 and has two movements. The symphony opens with a full string statement, marked "Largo solonne, I presume solemn then into an andante pastorale. It is only 4:16 long but is very effective at mood paintinmg.ere is an English Horn toassist in the color of the music, and a celeste and some tinkling bells lend that Eastern tone to the music. The 2nd movemnt is marked "Andante misteriosos, maestosdo, presto, allegrogiusto, allegro moderato and finally, andante maestoso as a conclusion. It lasts for 22:31 and draws this lovely work to an end. All three of these selections are, by the way, world premiere recordings, something one doesn't see often. Too bad rthere is solittle Hovhaness out there, as I will look again after this review is done. He deserves more exposure and not merely because he is "new," but because he is also interesting, pleasing to the ears and worthy of the musical world of today. He is a nostalgic traveler with whom one feels at home and at peace with. Hovhaness' expploration of diverse instruments and sounds is a source of endless curiosity for all of us, and if you have a good orchestra in you town or city, drop the management a line and ask for more hovhaness. They just might do some, what have you got to lose? A solid and highly impressed 4.5 Stars for this Naxos entry. This CD was recorded in the wrm acoustics of Henry WOOD HALL IN GLASGOW, UK ON JANUARY 12,13/2007. SIT BACK AND ENJOY AND GOD BLESS ALL----TONY.