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Portraits & Elegies

> Vocalise - Vocalise
> Berceuse Fantasque - Berceuse Fantasque
> Day Music - I. Pearls
> Day Music - II. Extreme Leisure
> Day Music - III. Bats
> Day Music - IV. Billet Doux (Love Letter)
> Day Music - V. Another Ground
> Night Music - III. Gnats
> Night Music - IV. The Lighthouse
> Night Music - VIII. Saying Goodbye, Driving Off
> Elegy - Elegy
> Autumn Music - I. Adagio: Amoroso
> Autumn Music - II. Lamentoso

Album Summary

>Lasser, Philip : Vocalise, for violin & piano
>Lasser, Philip : Berceuse Fantasque, for violin & piano
>Rorem, Ned [Composer] : Day Music
>Rorem, Ned [Composer] : Night Music
>Lieberson, Peter : Elegy, for violin & piano
>Platt, Russell : Autumn Music, for violin & piano
Performers Composers

Notes & Reviews:

"Almond, who plays here on the ex-Lipinksi Stradivari violin (the instrument's first commercial recording), produces an amazingly sweet, rich tone even in the highest registers called for in Lieberson's Elegy. Zeger's voicing and controlled use of the pedal and dynamics provide a sensual backdrop for Almond's playing, and the two musicians play off one another with delicacy and brilliant technical accuracy. Innova's clean but rich sound quality enhances the detail that Almond and Zeger bring to this highly enjoyable performance." -All Music Guide

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (08/20/2008-08/22/2008).



Reviews

Simply beautiful
Violinist Frank Almond and pianist Brian Zeger team up on this new release from Innova to perform a range of chamber music by four contemporary composers. The pieces vary widely in character and style, but all embody the adage that less is more. Philip Lasser’s “Vocalise” and “Berceuse Fantasque” are spare, emotionally haunting works of considerable subtlety and depth. Lasser’s melodies are stunningly beautiful, and the counterpoint between violin and piano is nothing short of breathtaking. The selections from Ned Rorem’s “Day Music” and “Night Music” segue from elegiac tone poems to sprightly, dance-like exercises in rhythm; all are effortlessly beguiling. Peter Lieberson’s “Elegy” strikes a lugubrious tone from start to finish, yet harbors unexpected shards of lightness among the gloom. Russell Platt’s “Adagio, Amoroso” and “Lamentoso” are pure expressions of beauty and longing. Almond and Zeger make for a great team—their playing is completely in sync in terms of form, content and expression. An interesting side note to this recording is that Almond plays the “Lipinski” Stradivarius, which dates from 1715. Needless to say, it sounds out of this world, with a warmth and timber from another age.
Submitted on 05/10/10 by Dean Brierly 
Beautiful, sensitively played "portraits and elegies"
" Portraits, Elegies " (Innova 763) featuring Frank Almond, violin and Brian Zeger, piano is a definite must hear for the beauty of the selections and the mastery of the performances. Frank Almond is the concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony, formerly of the Rotterdam Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic. Possessed of a rich, beautiful sound, Almond is a wonderful player and seems to have a real connection the pieces on this program. Brian Zeger is one of the nation's best known accompanists and chamber musicians. He is also the artistic director of the vocal arts department at Julliard. This whole album is devoted to music that is reflective, pensive, melancholic; at times, sad and captivating throughout. The " Vocalise " (1999) by Philip Lasser was written in homage to Rachmaninov and is quite reminscent of the piece of the same title. The version heard here later became the center movement of Lasser's symphony, "Circle of Dreams". Lasser's " Berceuse Fantasque " is a lullaby, representing a song sung to a child and the dreams encountered by the child as well as the singer. The result is almost psychological, alternating between the peaceful and the restless, much as dreams do. The selections from " Day Music " and " Night Music " by Ned Rorem are well chosen. Some are plaintive, subdued and tranquil; others, highly energetic and virtuostic show pieces. Highlights include the very French sounding " Extreme Leisure " and the " Billet doux ", Rorem having a near life long affinity for and expertise in French music. The 'driving' side of the Rorem selections is typified by " Gnats " and " Bats ", both propelled forward by some very edgy, jazz-like rhythms. The Peter Lieberson " Elegy " (1990) is characterized by a haunting melody in the upper register and some dark, sad arpeggiations in the piano. The melody and its fragments give way to a waltz-like coda that practically dissolves and ebbs away. " Autumn Music " (2007) by Russell Platt, is comprised of the last two movements of a sonata written for Almond and Zeger. Basically, this is a fantasia and chaconne and the entire piece is somewhat subdued, mysterious and a bit unsettling. Overall, this is a beautiful and haunting collection, beautifully played. Frank Almond is a wonderful player who, hopefully, will become better known nationally and I am personally motivated to find out more about Philip Lasser.
Submitted on 05/19/10 by Dan Coombs 
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Works Details

>Lasser, Philip : Vocalise, for violin & piano
  • Performers: Brian Zeger (Piano); Frank Almond (Violin)
  • Notes: Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (08/20/2008-08/22/2008)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Lasser, Philip : Berceuse Fantasque, for violin & piano
  • Performers: Brian Zeger (Piano); Frank Almond (Violin)
  • Notes: Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (08/20/2008-08/22/2008)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Rorem, Ned [Composer] : Day Music :: Pearls
  • Performers: Brian Zeger (Piano); Frank Almond (Violin)
  • Notes: Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (08/20/2008-08/22/2008)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 45 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1971

>Rorem, Ned [Composer] : Day Music :: Extreme Leisure
  • Performers: Brian Zeger (Piano); Frank Almond (Violin)
  • Notes: Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (08/20/2008-08/22/2008)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1971

>Rorem, Ned [Composer] : Day Music :: Bats
  • Performers: Brian Zeger (Piano); Frank Almond (Violin)
  • Notes: Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (08/20/2008-08/22/2008)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 45 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1971

>Rorem, Ned [Composer] : Day Music :: Billet Doux (Love Letter)
  • Performers: Brian Zeger (Piano); Frank Almond (Violin)
  • Notes: Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (08/20/2008-08/22/2008)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1971

>Rorem, Ned [Composer] : Day Music :: Another Ground
  • Performers: Brian Zeger (Piano); Frank Almond (Violin)
  • Notes: Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (08/20/2008-08/22/2008)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1971

>Rorem, Ned [Composer] : Night Music :: Gnats
  • Performers: Brian Zeger (Piano); Frank Almond (Violin)
  • Notes: Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (08/20/2008-08/22/2008)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1972

>Rorem, Ned [Composer] : Night Music :: Lighthouse
  • Performers: Brian Zeger (Piano); Frank Almond (Violin)
  • Notes: Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (08/20/2008-08/22/2008)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1972

>Rorem, Ned [Composer] : Night Music :: Saying Goodbye, Driving Off
  • Performers: Brian Zeger (Piano); Frank Almond (Violin)
  • Notes: Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (08/20/2008-08/22/2008)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1972

>Lieberson, Peter : Elegy, for violin & piano
  • Performers: Brian Zeger (Piano); Frank Almond (Violin)
  • Notes: Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (08/20/2008-08/22/2008)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Platt, Russell : Autumn Music, for violin & piano
  • Performers: Brian Zeger (Piano); Frank Almond (Violin)
  • Notes: Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (08/20/2008-08/22/2008)
  • Running Time: 18 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary