Listen to TRACK 19:
JOEL, B. (arr. P. Berring): And So It Goes
This recording traverses Canada, America and the British isles in music that has helped define the culture of those nations. England is represented by two of its most celebrated composers, Holst and Vaughan Williams, and the iconic Scottish Auld Lang Syne is traditionally sung to greet each New Year. Celebrated Canadian songs include Jimmy Rankin’s Juno Award-winning Fare thee well love. Eric Whitacre’s distinctive harmonic clusters can be heard in Go lovely rose, and Gordon Lightfoot counts Bob Dylan among his many fans, Dylan once declaring that when he heard a song such as Pussywillows, cat-tails he wished ‘it would last forever’.
Listen to TRACK 3: Fantasia Hungarica: II. Poco vivo
† WORLD PREMIERE RECORDING
In the last two decades of his career Eugene Zádor, whose music fused Classicism with Romanticism to universal acclaim, wrote a series of works that reflected his Hungarian roots. Subtly flavoured by folklore without any direct quotations, Zádor’s facility for melody, harmony and colour is exemplified in the Rhapsody for Orchestra, while his gift for lyricism and pithy concision is to the fore in the Fantasia Hungarica for double bass and orchestra. The Rhapsody for Cimbalom and Orchestra reveals his ceaselessly inventive imagination in music that is orchestrated with the deftest touch.
Listen to TRACK 11: Caprichos No. 7: Fantasies of ‘La Tarara’: IV. Frenesí (Frenzy)
Acknowledged as one of the finest contemporary composers, Barcelona-born leonardo Balada has written a series of Caprichos, suite-like pieces that illustrate the range of his invention. Fusing traditional and contemporary elements, they generate a symbiosis between the ethnic and the avant-garde, as in Caprichos No. 7: Fantasies of ‘La Tarara’ in which an Andalusian folk melody is transformed into a surrealist canvas, and in the vividly descriptive dissonance of Caprichos No. 6. Ballet City is a youthful work, reflecting Balada’s early enthusiasm for neo-classicism.
Listen to TRACK 2: Concerto for Two Flutes in D major: II. Largo
Although operas make up the most substantial part of Mercadante’s catalogue, his technically challenging flute concertos are notable examples of 19th-century Italian instrumental music, effectively closing the Classical period for this instrument. Built on the agile writing and bel canto style that characterised the Neapolitan school, the Concerto in D major is unique in Mercadante’s catalogue in being for two flutes. The great mutual respect between Mercadante and Rossini is brought vividly to life in the theme used for the masterly Tema con variazioni. The Capricci can be compared with those for violin by Paganini, and the joyous Sixth Concerto makes varied and eloquent use of the orchestra. Volume 1 of this collection can be heard on Naxos 8.572731.