TWO CONCERTOS

TWO CONCERTOS: DANNY ELFMAN’s VIOLIN
CONCERTO ELEVEN ELEVEN and ADOLPHUS HAILSTORK’S PIANO CONCERTO NO. 1

THE BACKROUND

Naxos Classics is releasing an album that
pairs up two works by living American composers. Both compositions are performed
by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by JoAnn Falletta. Sandy
Goodman is the soloist in Dany Elfman’s Violin Concerto Eleven Eleven.
Stewart Goodyear is the soloist in the Piano Concerto No. 1 by Adolphus
Hailstork.

THE MUSIC

Grave… Animato… Spietato… Fantasma…
Giocoso… Lagrime…
Danny
Elfman attaches evocative titles to the powerfully dramatic music of the four
movements of his Violin Concerto Eleven Eleven. In music at times
muscular and jagged, at other times deeply moving, and that demands to be
listened to the composer creates throughout the concerto’s forty-two minutes
duration a compelling musical narrative. This is music that consistently provoked
in this listener a visceral reaction to Elfman’s work.

By contrast, the fascinating Piano Concerto
No. 1 by Adolphus Hailstork sustains throughout its first two movements – a Moderato
and an Adagio – a lyrical, often melancholy mood. The third movement – marked Vivace
– is by contrast energetically agitated, chockful of syncopated figurations, percussive
in both the piano part and in the busy percussion section of the orchestra. The
final movement of Hailstork’s composition is felicitously interrupted a few
times by brief oases of woodwinds, but it inexorably leads to a stunningly blunt
conclusion.

THE PERFORMANCE

In both Elfman’s and Hailstorks’s works
JoAnn Falletta leads the Buffalo Philharmonic – one of America’s finest
orchestras – in a pair of perfect performances that balance the needs of each
soloist with those of her finely tuned forces: an ensemble impeccably precise
and gifted with sterling strings, wonderful woodwinds, a bold brass section,
and a razor-sharp percussion section.

Sandy Goodman is a youthful force of
nature that injects into Danny Newman’s composition inexhaustible energy, fearless
agility, pointed articulation, and a virtuosic bow technique that meets head on
the superhuman demands of the work.

The indispensable Canadian pianist Stewart
Goodyear once more reminds us of his stature as one of today’s finest virtuosos
of the keyboard. He delivers a magisterial reading of Adolphus Hailstork’s
Piano Concerto No. 1, supply versatile, sensitively played, technically
unimpeachable, noble in musicality.

Rafael de Acha – ALL ABOUT THE ARTS http://www.allabouttheartscoms.com
(c)2023

Rafael de Acha was born and grew up in Cuba. At the age of 17 he
moved to the United States to study Drama at the University of Minnesota, Languages
at L.A. City College, Music at the Juilliard School of Music, at the University
of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music, and at the New England
Conservatory of Music, from which he received the master’s degree. He has
taught courses on the History of Music at the University of Miami’s Frost
School of Music and at Florida International University and contributed
writings and reviews to Seen and Heard International
(www.seenandheard-international.com) and to this blog. He co-founded the
award-winning New Theatre in Coral Gables, Florida, where he produced and
staged twenty seasons of classical and contemporary theater. In 2006 he was
presented with a citation from The Dade County Cultural Affairs Council for “Trailblazing
contributions to the arts in South Florida.”

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