ARNOLD GRILLER (b.1937): Orchestral Music, Vol. 3 - Dances Under an Autumn Sky, Violin Concerto “Music for Yodit Tekle”, Concerto Grosso, Trumpet Concerto.
Catalogue Number: 01W049
Label: Toccata Classics
Reference: TOCC 0590
Description: The enthusiastic welcome that we extended to the first two volumes of this valuable series (10T072, 11U009) is equally applicable to this one. As we said previously: "a creative mind of real and original quality, prompting adjectives such as 'intense', 'kaleidoscopic' and 'unsettling' ... firmly grounded in tonality, freely, chromatically and originally used ...". To that may be added Griller's exceedingly original approach to orchestration, highlighted in the three recent works here by what the conductor insightfully calls the "Griller gamelan", a variable ensemble of tuned percussion and plucked strings afforded a prominent, almost concertante, rôle within the orchestral texture. Dances ... sounds like music for an imaginary ballet, theatrical, dramatic and concentrated in narrative, with a combination of dark, Nordic humor and driving energy (it was influenced by a novel by Knut Hamsun). In constantly shifting time signatures and incisive, irregular, Stravinskyan rhythms, it charts a course from graceful via increasingly active episodes and sardonic dance sections to an increasingly cataclysmic and nightmarish final act. The Violin Concerto was Griller's response to Martin Anderson’s "Music for my Love" project in memory of Yodit Tekle (see 12S076, 01U067, 02V072). A full-scale concerto in multiple linked sections, the piece pits the defiantly lyrical solo violin against the dark, roiling textures of a huge orchestra (with much heavy brass and no violins), economically and idiosyncratically used to provide a melancholy, brooding mise en scène, and only once in a full, turbulent tutti. The violin singing bravely throughout, occasionally forced into defiant action or reduced to defeated stammering but maintaining a foreground presence to the very end, when it is abruptly silenced. The Trumpet Concerto, composed almost immediately afterwards, suggests a retrospective of a life's experiences with "death, with sorrow, memory and loss", though here balanced by, and culminating with, the celebration of the vigor and energy of a life well lived. The highly virtuosic trumpet is a lively, characterful force throughout a sequence of episodes of youthful energy, lyricism, tragedy ("A march past Dvořák’s house" begins by evoking the Czech composer’s warm, outdoor, pastoral music, but evolves into the concerto's tragic, wounded heart), and finally a rambunctious celebration of life, replete with raucous fanfares and bells. 65 years earlier, Griller wrote his Concerto Grosso, a relatively straightforward but already mature and accomplished four movements spanning the pastoral warmth, playfulness and nocturnal serenity of a day. Kamila Bydlowska (violin), Matilda Lloyd (trumpet), Liepāja Symphony Orchestra; Paul Mann.