PAUL MORAVEC (b.1957): Violin Concerto (Maria Bachmann [violin], Symphony in C; Rossen Milanov), Shakuhachi Quintet (James Nyoraku Schlefer [shakuhachi], Voxare String Quartet), Equilibrium and Evermore for Solo Piano (Stephen Gosling).
Catalogue Number: 02R049
Description: The concerto is a substantial half-hour work which conforms to the romantic virtuoso-vehicle model, in Moravec's customary neo-romantic, very tonal idiom. The first movement serves as introduction, presenting the main theme in stately rhythm and sumptuous harmony, increasingly impassioned, then mysterious and contemplative; and then a kind of scherzo in which the theme takes on a more propulsive character. The second is a songlike serenade, adapted from the composer's Pulitzer-winning Tempest Fantasy (01R069). A passionate extended cadenza, effectively a movement in its own right, leads to the boisterous, bravura finale, which introduces the BACH motif into its thematic material. The quintet integrates the Shakuhachi flute into the context of the Western chamber music canon, largely without adopting any traditional Japanese styles or idioms. The work opens with an elegiac, largely slow movement, the quartet writing not a little reminiscent of Shostakovich. The second opens in a similar vein, but the calm is soon disturbed by jagged, dissonant outbursts, while the flute strives to maintain a more meditative mood. The finale has a subdued introduction, but soon turns into a sprightly, slightly jazzy dance. Equilibrium begins as an enigmatic rhapsody on a nervous thematic fragment, and uses the BACH motif as a ground in the second section, a somber arch of melody. Evermore was a wedding gift for the violinist, a gentle melodic encore piece.