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James Lentini: Orchestra Hall Suite; Scenes from Sedona; Montage

Album Summary

>Lentini, James : Orchestra Hall Suite, for bassoon, violin, viola & cello
>Lentini, James : El Signo del Angel (The Sign of the Angel), for harp & viola
>Lentini, James : Pieces (5) for cello & piano
>Lentini, James : East Coast Groove, for tuba & piano
>Lentini, James : Scenes from Sedona, for viola & cello
>Lentini, James : Montage, for violin, cello & piano
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

James Lentini's compositions have been described as "some of the most alluring contemporary music you're apt to find" by veteran music critic John Guinn. Orchestra Hall Suite honors the venerable home of the Detroit Symphony, while Scenes from Sedona depicts in music landmarks from the strikingly beautiful 'Red Rock Country' in Arizona. El Signo del Angel is a musical offering to the guardian angel who may once have saved the composer's life. East Coast Groove puts the tuba through virtuosic paces, while Five Pieces and Montage comprise atmospheric soundscapes.

American Record Guide
The pieces on the recording of music by James Lentini are all very colorful and well written; the performances are for the most part excellent.



Reviews

Great Writing for Strings!
This recording displays some first-rate writing for strings, beginning with "Orchestra Hall Suite" for bassoon quartet, which is NOT 4 bassoons but a string trio plus bassoon. Beautiful harp and viola writing in "El Signo del Angel," and 5 Pieces for Cello and Piano has some luscious cello parts, especially in the movement called "Song." "Scenes from Sedona" is a tour de force for the viola and cello, and "Montage" for piano trio works beautifully for the ensemble. Though not for strings per se, "East Coast Groove" for tuba and piano is a fun excursion. Lentini's style is attractive and adventurous--sometimes with edgy dissonance and rhythmic drive. Expertly and enthusiastically performed by top-flight musicians throughout. A great CD for those who love chamber music and strings!
Submitted on 08/10/10 by C.S. Frolich 
Very pleasant discoveries from someone you should know!
The new collection of chamber music from Detroit native, James Lentini (Naxos 8.559626), is a very pleasant surprise and well worth checking out! Lentini, a graduate of Wayne State University and ,presently, the Dean of the School of Fine Arts at Miami University of Ohio, is clearly well trained with a unique vision. His music is accessible to listen to and challenging for his performers without being needlessly complex and mathematical. This collection opens with the very compelling "Orchestra Hall Suite". Written for Paul Ganson, bassoonist with the Detroit Symphony for the remodeling of their Orchestra Hall, this is a largely tonal and somewhat jazzy suite for bassoon and string quartet that refers to Weber, Mahler and even Lionel Hampton in places. Bassoonists should rush to add this to their repertory in a fairly small category of works. "El signo del angel", from 2004, is written for harp and viola. Written for a new music festival in Spain, this is another very interesting work for a very unusual combination that works! The composer states that the title is his inspiration from a near miss and potentially fatal car crash and his thoughts on guardian angels. As such, it is beautiful and a bit ethereal throughout. The "Five Pieces" fro cello and piano (1987) opens in a very declamatory fashion and remains a virtuoso work; even during the evocative middle movements which are quite lyrical. A highlight of this collection must be the "East Coast Groove" for tuba and piano. This vibrant, challenging piece is a terrific addition in another somewhat slight genre and soloist Velvet Brown must be one of the country's best tubists, exhibiting smooth tone and clear, bell like articulation. As an Arizona resident, I was quite taken with Lentini's "Scenes for Sedona" (1996) as well. This piece for viola and cello is a very picturesque evocation of certain landmark locations in the redrocks country. Particularly interesting is the movement named after Cathedral Rock which, quite cleverly and impressionistically, quotes briefly from Debussy, "La cathedrale engloutie". The "Devil's Bridge" is understandably frantic and spiky. The disc concludes with the piano trio, "Montage" which follows traditional forms but makes good use of some solid melodic and thematic material, giving all three players plenty of showcase moments. All of this music is of high quality, the performances are great and congratulations to Naxos, again, for giving venue to a living American composer whose voice deserves to be more widely heard!
Submitted on 08/17/10 by Dan Coombs 
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Works Details

>Lentini, James : Orchestra Hall Suite, for bassoon, violin, viola & cello
  • Performers: Geoffrey Applegate (Violin); Marcy Chanteaux (Cello); Paul Ganson (Bassoon); James Valkenburg (Viola)
  • Running Time: 11 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1994

>Lentini, James : El Signo del Angel (The Sign of the Angel), for harp & viola
  • Performers: Jacquelyn Davis (Harp); Mary Harris (Viola)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2004

>Lentini, James : Pieces (5) for cello & piano
  • Performers: Pansy Chang (Cello); Siok Tan (Piano)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1987

>Lentini, James : East Coast Groove, for tuba & piano
  • Performers: Velvet Brown (Tuba); Robert Conway (Piano)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2003

>Lentini, James : Scenes from Sedona, for viola & cello
  • Performers: Tom Flaherty (Cello); Cynthia Fogg (Viola)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1996

>Lentini, James : Montage, for violin, cello & piano
  • Performers: Pansy Chang (Cello); Siok Tan (Piano); Harvey Thurmer (Violin)
  • Running Time: 11 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1992