- Featured: Miranda Trio
- Release Date: 10/14/2008
This début CD of the Miranda Trio covers three centuries of music from three different countries - Russia (the former Soviet Republic), Argentina and France - and includes pieces by well-known and lesser known composers. But here, of course, it is obvious that music has little to do with borders, centuries or names. Going from France to Argentina might seem like a huge leap, yet both Angel E. Lasala and Astor Piazzolla had links with France and Russia. Lasala was an admirer of Mussorgsky. During his younger years, Piazzolla studied piano under a pupil of Rachmaninov; later he would take lessons from the legendary Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Inspired by such composers as Bach, Ravel and Stravinsky, on the one hand, and by jazz on the other, Astor Piazzolla gives new shape to the Argentinean tango and calls his music the Tango Nuovo, or new tango. Here was a composer who considered his music more the listening kind than the dancing kind. Little is known about Angel E. Lasala. We do know, however, that he favoured the combination of flute, harp and voice, which might speak to the great love he had for his wife, the soprano Zulema Castello. The Poemas Norteños are thought to be among his favourite songs. Lasala was born in Buenos Aires and began his career as a concert pianist. Later, after Athos Palma took him under his wing, his interest began to shift toward composing. This developed in a wide range of forms: chamber music, symphonic, religious and theatrical. His work has a distinct character, especially because he managed to fuse inspiration from Argentinean and American music into a single style. A bit of research has revealed something else: Lasala has the same music publisher as Piazzolla. That in itself is an indication of the importance and reputation of his music in Argentina. The poem Viens!Une flûte invisible soupire by Victor Hugo has inspired a number of composers. The first to set the poem to music was Camille Saint-Saëns. His duettino titled Viens! Was written for two voices with piano accompaniment. That piece was published in 1856, the same year the poem was printed (as part of Les Contemplations). Saint-Saëns returned to the poem in 1885, the year of Hugo's death, and composed a second version for voice, flute and piano, titling it Une flûte Invisible. By resetting the poem nearly thirty years later, he may have been bidding a discreet farewell to it's author. Among the other composers who set this poem to music were Léo Delibes (Eglogue, 1863), George Bizet (Après l'hiver, 1866), Bemjamin Godard (Viens!, 1872), Gabiel Pierné (Les Trois Chansons, 1890) and André Caplet (Viens!Une flute invisible soupire, 1900). What drew so many composers to this poem? Could an invisible flute hold such appeal to their imaginations? France is a flute-loving country. Jacques Ibert wrote his Entr'acte for flute in 1935. Debussy said of Iber: "His art is exceptional in it's intelligence, classic sobriety and esprit and 'fantasie dans la sensibilité'". Stylistic classification of works by Ibert is virtually impossible. The composer himself once remarked, " All stylistic tendencies are fine, as long as they are used to create music." Maurice Ravel originally wrote his Cinq mélodies populaires grecque for piano and voice. With Ravel's consent, the renowned French harpist Carlos Salzedo edited the piano score for the harp. The songs were written between 1904 and 1906 to original lyrics that were translated into French by Michel Calvaradossi. Ravel had a great interest in folk music and combined the classical with the contemporary. The completely different states of mind that arise in this piece relate, for instance, to a marriage proposal, macho behaviour and dancing for joy. Remarkably, during the period that this beautiful succession of songs was published, Ravel competed annually in the Prix de Rome (1900-1905) without ever winning. In 1900 and in 1905 the great composer wasn't even admitted to the final round, despite his prominence by 1905. The only living composer on this CD, Belarusian-born Sergey Beltiukov, possess a Neo-romantic, yet exceptionally individual style. He occupies a very special place among the great composers, not merely as the father of the flutist Dasha, but also because his composition was written specially for the Miranda Trio. Beltiukov, a member of the Union of Composers to tell a fascinating story within three minutes. The poem on which the composition is based, The Theatre, is by Bella Akhmadulina, one of Russia's most celebrated contemporary female poets. The Lark by Mikhail Glinka is an old Russian favourite. Originally it was a song on which Mili Balakirev wrote variations, which were later arranged for harp by Xenia Erdeli. It is a virtuoso piece; at times it seems that more than two hands are playing. Besides being a hero to the Russian people, Glinka is the founder of the Russian National Opera. Like many of his contemporaries, he studied in Italy. Most composers of this era shed their roots, but Glinka developed a genuinely classic Russian musical language and had many followers, for instance the magical Group of Five. Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov was renowned during his lifetime. He conducted (being the first to perform the Matthäus by Bach in Russia) and played a major role within the music scene. He was the director of the Moscow Conservatory and held several positions at the Bolshoi Theatre. Ippolitov-Ivanov studied composition with Rimsky-Korsakov and the master's influence greatly affected his style. During eleven years in Georgia, where he worked as the director of the Tbilisi Opera, he collected music from that region. Interests in oriental music, particularly the music of ethnic minorities from the former Russian republic, are to be found within his oeuvre. His works were written in a late-romantic idiom and have been profoundly influenced by the Caucasian folk music that he had studied meticulously. Ippolitov's love for the Orient is clearly expressed in the Five songs from Japanese poetry (for soprano and harp) and the Three songs from the poetry of Rabindranath Tagore (for soprano, flute and harp).
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