ALEXIS ARANDA (b.1974): Concierto Acqua for Flute and Orchestra, Concerto for Flute, Guitar and Orchestra, Piano Concerto.
Catalogue Number: 11V073
Description: These immensely enjoyable, tonal concerti draw from all over the neo-Romantic and post-Romantic spectrum to produce works of dynamism, lyricism, instant appeal and unpredictability. The flute concerto Acqua is the third in a series of works entitled "Zodiac"; this concerto's three movements portray the characteristics associated with the "water" element of the zodiac; Scorpio, Cancer and Pisces. The first movement is passionate, dramatic, obstinate and driven, with an atmospheric slow section after which a virtuosic cadenza leads back to the opening material. The romantic, emotional nature of those born under the sign of the Crab is portrayed in a lovely melodic ballad which swells to a passionate climax and recedes. Mercurial, creative, full of energy but with hidden depths, Pisces engages the flute in vigorous counterpoint with the orchestra, with sudden flaring orchestral solos; a romantic and mysterious central section is soon superseded by the confident swagger of the opening. The cadenza sparkles, pauses for contemplation and then leads the way back to an assertive coda. The opening movement of the double concerto begins gently, with flowing lines, the guitar's constant arpeggiated figuration underpinning floating flute melodic lines, exchanged with other orchestral winds, which gives way to a climax of propulsive post-minimalism, suddenly very Glassian in its momentum. "Nocturne" is songlike, its gently sentimental theme giving both soloists an opportunity to show off their melodic capabilities alone and in dialogue. The guitar has a brief cadenza, like an excerpt from a Spanish serenade. After a slightly inexplicable contrapuntal introduction for brass, the finale, "Concerto grosso", radiates exactly the kind of neo-Baroque high spirits that the title suggests. The Piano Concerto is made of sterner stuff; here the composer-pianist flaunts his post-Romantic credentials in a tough, mechanistically threatening Toccata, the piano part motoric like Prokofiev, the ostinato momentum like Shostakovich, the frantic energy like action music from an action movie. A sinister nocturnal central section does nothing to dispel the tension. The introduction to the slow movement is the most modern music here; misty, formless scene-setting with the distant cries of seabirds. However, the movement proper is a richly Romantic one, its principal theme reminiscent of Rachmaninov. A flamboyant central passage is followed by a reprise of the somberly melodic section. The presto finale announces itself explosively; perpetuum mobile, dance, song, and a virtuosic cadenza lead to the final flight to the finish. 2 CDs. Marisa Canales (flute), Jaime Márquez (guitar), Camerata de Coahuila; Alexis Aranda (piano).