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Brett Dean: The Lost Art of Letter Writing; Testament; Vexations and Devotions / Peter Zimmerman, violin; Brabbins; Nott

Album Summary

>Dean, Brett : The Lost Art of Letter Writing, concerto for violin & orchestra
>Dean, Brett : Testament, for 12 violas
>Dean, Brett : Vexations and Devotions, oratorio for chorus, children's chorus, orchestra & electronics
Performer Conductors Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

More than most composers currently active, Brett Dean uses music to tackle political and social themes of our times. A common factor in the works on this recording is the sometimes problematic aspects of human communication and the erosion and misuse of language. The recording was made during a public performance of Vexations and Devotions in the framework of the BBC Proms in 2007, with David Robertson conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and the Australian children's choir Gondwana Voices.

BBC Music Magazine, February 2014
Dean creates a Berg-like soundscape in which fragments of that Symphony [Brahms 4] fleetingly or sometimes not so fleetingly swim into focus...A similarly effective tension between classic fragments and Dean's music features in Testament...weaves wailing and whistling lines from a 12-viola ensemble.

Gramophone Magazine, January 2014
Dean evokes that art [of letter-writing] through mostly wistful musical languages which he feels appropriate to each...Zimmermann has the measure of the solo part and receives fine support from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra...Superb sound from BIS completes a fascinating disc.

The Guardian, 7th November 2013
Like the best works with literary subtexts, The Lost Art of Letter Writing can also be appreciated on its own purely abstract musical terms, and as a wonderfully idiomatic concerto inhabiting a post-Bergian musical world, it's as important an achievement as Dean's earlier Viola Concerto and one of the most significant recent additions to the violin-concerto repertoire.

American Record Guide, March/April 2014
Australian Brett Dean (b. 1961) won the 2009 Grawemeyer Award for this violin concerto, The Lost Art of Letter Writing (2006). The title refers to epistles on various topics from the likes of Brahms, Van Gogh, Wolf, and outlaw Ned Kelly, the subject of a recent Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Mr Dean writes in a complex romantic style, knotty, challenging, virtuosic, and often lyrical. Testament (2002), written for the viola section of the Berlin Philharmonic, takes Beethoven's Heiligenstadt Testament as subject. This is a highly effective exploration of the creative process. Vexations and Devotions (2005) involves "the dehumanization of society" with its "loss of language" and "increasing sense of alienation". The point is clear. This is an interesting release, in spectacular SACD sound, and it is well packed with music. Mr Zimmermann is an excellent player, as he must be for this demanding music.



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Works Details

>Dean, Brett : The Lost Art of Letter Writing, concerto for violin & orchestra
  • Performer: Frank Zimmermann (Violin)
  • Conductor: Jonathan Nott
  • Ensemble: Sydney Symphony
  • Running Time: 33 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 2006

>Dean, Brett : Testament, for 12 violas
  • Conductor: Martyn Brabbins
  • Ensemble: BBC Symphony Orchestra
  • Running Time: 14 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2002

>Dean, Brett : Vexations and Devotions, oratorio for chorus, children's chorus, orchestra & electronics
  • Conductor: David Robertson
  • Ensemble: Gondwana Voices
  • Running Time: 37 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 2005
  • Studio/Live: Live