STEPHEN FROST (b.1959): Parapraxis for Choir and Orchestra (Ensemble 96), Bassoon Concerto, KJELL MØRK KARLSEN (b.1947): Serenata for Bassoon and Strings, Op. 113.

Catalogue Number: 08N093

Label: Signum

Reference: SIGCD258

Format: CD

Price: $17.98

Description: Frost's pieces are tonal, attractive and instantly accessible. Parapraxis - an apparent incongruity that reveals an underlying truth - combines scared and secular texts assembled by the composer, with the concertante bassoon part appearing as an eloquent solo voice in music that could easily belong in the church choral tradition. The concerto is the composer's reworking of the piece, for a more intimate ensemble than the original version. The first movement is lively, with an energetic pulse. The second was being composed at the time of the 1996 murder-suicide tragedy in Dunblane, Scotland, and here the music takes on a contrastingly somber mood, wistfully elegiac and emotionally extrovert, with moments of angry passion, in an idiom suggesting the soundtrack to imagery of the grieving parents and devastated town. The incisive finale is as propulsive as the first movement, though now the solo bassoon's melodies have taken on a more plaintive air, as though unable to shake off the pathos of the middle movement. Karlsen's Serenata interestingly resembles Parapraxis in introducing a liturgical theme - the composer's own, from a sacred piece - into a secular context. Tonal, with an harmonic language reminiscent of Shostakovich, the work, with its alternately lively and eloquent solo part, also draws on elements of Orthodox church music in the sublimely melodic slow movement. Sigyn Birkeland (bassoon), Belarussian State Chamber Orchestra; Ingo Ernst Reihl.

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