, June 2000
"This intriguing disc in Marco Polo's burgeoning Irish composers series will cheer unreconstructed Modernists as well as appeal to closet Romantics. Raymond Deane (b. 1953) has emerged as an influential figure on the Irish contemporary music scene. He studied with, among others, Karlheinz Stockhausen in Germany. A range of 20th-century European influences leaven his style, not least in the vividly colouristic orchestral works an offer here.
"Krespel's Concerto for violin and orchestra is a work that from it tragic cadenza introduction carries with it an attractive baggage of 1920s and 60s parody. It's an initially desolate, yet for that very reason gorgeously appealing concerto, arranged in four titled movements. E.T.A. Hoffmann's sotyr about the half-mad violin maker Rat Krespel, a source for Offenbach's unfinished extravaganza The Tales of Hoffmann, crops up as a kind of atmospheric psychological underlay.
"Soloist Alan Smale, who is also leader of the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, catches the nervy, fretful and yearning atmosphere of the piece perfectly. It's like Bartok on edge, a technically challenging and emotionally charged piece that well repays the listening. The other two pieces are worthwhile (especially Deane's knotty, violently Modernist oboe concerto) and the Marco Polo recording, made in Dublin's concert hall, is first-rate."