JAN ØIVIND NESS (b.1968): Zvezdochka in Orbit for Cello and Wind Orchestra, OLAV ANTON THOMMESSEN (b.1946): The Phantom of Light for Cello and 2 Wind Quintets, JACQUES IBERT (1890-1962): Concerto for Cello and 10 Wind Instruments, FRIEDRICH GULDA (1930-2000): Concerto for Cello and Wind Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 06N094
Reference: ACD 5063
Description: Ness’ piece refers to one of the dogs sent into space by the USSR in the early years of the space race, and combines a darkly humorous view of this event (you can hear the dog whining in the cello’s opening material) with a more serious philosophical examination of man’s place in the cosmos, against a background of dark, sonorous ‘space music’ drawing from spectral harmonies and microtones and textural sci-fi scene-setting (and Pink Floyd! - you thought we classical types wouldn’t get it, Mr Ness?), and getting a lot more tonal and rhythmically straightforward as it progresses. Even if you’re already familiar with Gulda’s immensely entertaining concerto for cello and augmented wind orchestra, with its raucously eclectic mixture of pop, jazz, romantic virtuosity, classicism and ridiculous circus music, this performance is worth having for the very different perspective it brings to the piece. It’s probably the most accurate performance out there, and succeeds in integrating the diverse movements into something resembling a serious concerto - no mean feat. Hearing Gulda’s funky backbeat in the Overture rendered with military precision is nothing short of hilarious. Thommessen delights in an eclectic mixture of styles, always to entertaining ends, and this piece is no exception. An increasingly vigorous introductory cadenza gives way to a vivacious, vaguely Stravinskyan second movement decorated with cello arabesques, followed by an ethereal lyrical aria exploiting the instruments’ highest registers. Ernst Simon Glaser (cello), Norwegian Navy Band Bergen; Peter Szilvay.