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Orchestral Music Vol. 5

Markevitch Audio CD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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1. La Taille De L'Homme: Prld
2. La Taille De L'Homme: Chor Orne
3. La Taille De L'Homme: Son I
4. La Taille De L'Homme: Son II
5. La Taille De L'Homme: Son III
6. La Taille De L'Homme: Son IV

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Pity for the music April 23 2001
Format:Audio CD
The booklet describes Markevitch as a genius and this composition is something we've waited for for years and we've to be sorry never heard it before. I'm not so sure.
In the eighties, while I was a musical student, I heard the first performance of this piece in the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw and played by his excellent chamber group: the Schonberg Ensemble. Then, I was totally overwhelmed by this music and I wanted to learn the score by heart.
Today, after much more studying, I find this music not so satisfying anymore. Possible the performance doesn't help, the singing is not first rate and that's one thing the music needs, but I couldn't find the new things again I thought this music had.
I dislike categorizing music - sounds like this and that, seems to be so and so - but for me this is rundown Prokofiev with a Hindemith sauce.
Busy writing for all the instruments in all but one part; I find the first movement the most likeable, the most telling, perhaps the place where you can hear what an extraordinary talent Markevitch was.
The soloists of the Arnhem 'A Bridge Too Far' Philharmonic (what's in a name - over here they are called Het Gelders Orkest but that doesn't sell) is - except the singing - very convincing.
Thank you Marco Polo!
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pity for the music April 23 2001
By Charles Voogd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The booklet describes Markevitch as a genius and this composition is something we've waited for for years and we've to be sorry never heard it before. I'm not so sure.
In the eighties, while I was a musical student, I heard the first performance of this piece in the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw and played by his excellent chamber group: the Schonberg Ensemble. Then, I was totally overwhelmed by this music and I wanted to learn the score by heart.
Today, after much more studying, I find this music not so satisfying anymore. Possible the performance doesn't help, the singing is not first rate and that's one thing the music needs, but I couldn't find the new things again I thought this music had.
I dislike categorizing music - sounds like this and that, seems to be so and so - but for me this is rundown Prokofiev with a Hindemith sauce.
Busy writing for all the instruments in all but one part; I find the first movement the most likeable, the most telling, perhaps the place where you can hear what an extraordinary talent Markevitch was.
The soloists of the Arnhem 'A Bridge Too Far' Philharmonic (what's in a name - over here they are called Het Gelders Orkest but that doesn't sell) is - except the singing - very convincing.
Thank you Marco Polo!
4.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable score Oct. 16 2009
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Igor Markevitch's fame still rests more or less exclusively on his work as one of the most remarkable conductors in the twentieth century. But the Marco Polo series of his orchestral music, should - if there is any justice - fill out that picture significantly. Indeed, I don't think I am exaggerating that this series reveals him as one of the most remarkable composers of the twentieth century as well. To emphasize: Markevitch is not merely a conductor who also composed (as most conductor-composers do; in a derivative, though often well-crafted and imaginative, manner); Markevitch's music is highly original, spectacularly enjoyable, always fresh and bold. In fact, Markevitch is perhaps the most convincing representative of Russian futurism (Prokofiev's forays into the genre perhaps excepted) I've heard. Even so, I readily admit that the stylistic range is rather limited, and I can, in a sense, see why he gave up composing so early instead of continuing to write the same pieces over and over. Still, we should be truly grateful for having this remarkable body of music, and also be grateful to the Arnhem Philharmonic, Christopher Lyndon-Gee and Marco Polo for making it available in usually more than acceptable, though a little rough, performances.

La Taille de l'Homme is Part One of an (unfinished) huge work for soprano and a chamber ensemble consisting of piano, string quintet, four winds, horn and trumpet, completed in 1939 (the main reason it was left unfinished seems to be because of the poet, Ramuz, more than Markevitch), describing, from a humanistic perspective, the stages of life and the passage of the seasons, but with a rather bleak outlook. The opening, instrumental Prélude is an atmospheric evocation of life's beginning, and already from the start, Markevitch's imaginative and seemingly endless resource of inventive ideas is at display. Throughout its almost hour-long span, the work is never dull, and contains some remarkable things (such as the doubling of soprano and trumpet in the chorale). The music is full of vitality and ingenious use of polyrhythmic twists and turns, enchanting textures and marvelous virtuous passages.

It is, in short, a splendid work, and the performances are generally good, ably lead by Christopher Lyndon-Gee, who seems to have a thorough and deeply considered understanding of the music (although - importantly - he uses a larger body of strings than the composer prescribed). The playing is generally more than serviceable, if a little rough at times, and Lucy Shelton is a generally superb soloist, even if she does sound a little uncomfortable at times. Sound quality is very good, and this is, in sum, another fine installment in this important series (although I recommend anyone unfamiliar with Markevitch's music to start with volume 2 or 3).
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