LUCAS RICHMAN (b.1964): Piano Concerto “In Truth”, Oboe Concerto “The Clearing”, 3 Pieces for Cello and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 03R076
Reference: TROY 1583
Description: Three splendidly bold, neo-romantic works, real crowd-pleasers in the way that the best of the acknowledged greats of the Romantic repertoire are. The piano concerto's first movement contains a great deal of Rachmaninov; it's the Rachmaninov surrogate that Addinsell's Warsaw Concerto should have been. The structure of the three-movement work takes an unexpected turn when instead of the anticipated slow movement, the middle movement begins with an extended solo cadenza, initially subdued and thoughtful but with mounting passion, which leads into an extrovertly jazzy ragtime scherzo with real 'swing'. The last movement begins in meditative mood, with a gentle, prayerful solo violin theme which the piano takes up, gradually gathering orchestral texture, and swelling to an exultant climax. In a final paragraph the theme, treated as a chorale, once again crescendoes to the movement's grandiose Hollywood-Rachmaninov culmination and subsides into simple prayer, with a final triumphant flourish. The single-span oboe concerto draws its long-breathed melodic line from the cadences of the text of the 23rd Psalm, and the work follows a darkness-to-light trajectory, from the gloom of the Valley of the Shadow of Death through the tumultuous onslaught of earthly reality to a clearing where prayer and meditation are possible, ending with a celebratory dance, with the soloist as protagonist, pilgrim and celebrant. The Three Pieces are likewise tonal and thoroughly accessible. The first is turbulent and passionate, recalling passages from the Elgar concerto; the second, 'Prayer' has the contours of Jewish liturgical music, while the exuberant third is overtly influenced by klezmer music, even down to its title, Yiddish for 'festive'. Jeffrey Biegel (piano), Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida (oboe), Inbal Segev (cello), Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; Lucas Richman.