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Menotti: Violin Concerto, Death of Orpheus, etc / Hickox

> Violin Concerto in A minor - I. Allegro moderato
> Violin Concerto in A minor - II. Adagio
> Violin Concerto in A minor - III. Allegro vivace
> Muero porque no muero - Muero porque no muero
> Llama de amor viva - Llama de amor viva
> For the Death of Orpheus - For the Death of Orpheus

Album Summary

>Menotti, Gian C. : Concerto for Violin in A minor
>Menotti, Gian C. : Muero porque no muero, cantata
>Menotti, Gian C. : Llama de Amor Viva, for baritone, chorus & orchestra
>Menotti, Gian C. : For the Death of Orpheus, for tenor, chorus & orchestra
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"The chorus and orchestra from the festival that Menotti has run for over 40 years respond wholeheartedly under the direction of Richard Hickox... The Violin Concerto opens with an idea, swaying between major and minor... while the more vigorous passages have strong echoes of Prokofiev... It's all expertly written, and attractively played... The three cantatas show where Menotti's real skill lies - in writing gratefully and idiomatically for voices" **** -Martin Cotton BBC Music

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Gian-Carlo Menotti's lyrical Violin Concerto, one of his most popular instrumental works, is here neatly coupled with premiere recordings of three cantatas written in the last 20 years, products of his active old age in his seventies and eighties. Hickox draws from the Festival Orchestra warmly persuasive readings of works which may be unashamedly eclectic, but are powerfully convincing in such committed performances.

The young American violinist, Jennifer Koh, is the excellent soloist. The first movement with its sequence of flowing melodies could easily seem to meander, but Koh and Hickox give it a clear shape, with each new idea emerging seductively. The slow movement, played with hushed dedication, has a tender poignancy here; an intrusive brass motif leads to the central cadenza, technically demanding but not showy. The vigorous finale features a jaunty main theme and ends with virtuoso fireworks, rounding off a piece that deserves resurrecting in the concert-hall too.

The two Spanish language cantatas were written respectively in 1982 and 1991 for the Catholic University in Washington. Menotti confesses to having lost his religious faith, and perhaps understandably here writes sensuous music closer to Puccini's opera, Suor Angelica, than to any religious model. Julia Melinek is the vibrant soloist in the St Teresa setting, with her marked vibrato well-controlled. Stephen Roberts, the responsive soloist in the St John of the Cross setting, is caught less happily, his voice ill focused.

The Death of Orpheus, to an English text by Menotti himself, is even more dramatic, based on the legend of Orpheus being killed by Thracian women in a bacchanalian frenzy. Orpheus's song emerges as a broad diatonic melody, with choral writing of Delian sensuousness and the tenor's part with Britten-like echoes. Jamie MacDougall is the expressive soloist, with the chorus fresh and incisive in all three cantatas.



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Works Details

>Menotti, Gian C. : Concerto for Violin in A minor
  • Performer: Jennifer Koh (Violin)
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Ensemble: Spoleto Festival Orchestra
  • Notes: Teatro Nuovo, Spoleto, Italy (07/04/2001-07/05/2001)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1952

>Menotti, Gian C. : Muero porque no muero, cantata
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Ensemble: Spoleto Festival Orchestra
  • Notes: Teatro Nuovo, Spoleto, Italy (07/04/2001-07/05/2001)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1982

>Menotti, Gian C. : Llama de Amor Viva, for baritone, chorus & orchestra
  • Performer: Stephen Roberts (Bass-Baritone)
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Ensemble: Spoleto Festival Orchestra
  • Notes: Teatro Nuovo, Spoleto, Italy (07/04/2001-07/05/2001)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1991

>Menotti, Gian C. : For the Death of Orpheus, for tenor, chorus & orchestra
  • Performer: Jamie MacDougall (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Ensemble: Spoleto Festival Orchestra
  • Notes: Teatro Nuovo, Spoleto, Italy (07/04/2001-07/05/2001)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1990