BENJAMIN ELLIN (b.early 1970s??): Sinfonia No. 1 for String Orchestra, White Crucifixion for Viola and String Orchestra (Rivka Golani [viola]), 3 States at Play for Solo Violin (Artem Kotov [violin]).

Catalogue Number: 10O093

Label: Discovery Music and Vision

Reference: DMV102

Format: CD

Price: $19.98

Description: White Crucifixion is a boldly impassioned, single-movement concertante work with the soloist very much placed in the foreground, after Chagall's eponymous painting. The lively, buoyant viola part suggests the bold imagery and sense of action that characterize much of Chagall's output. Ellin's vocabulary is decidedly tonal, with a flavor of middle-eastern modality. The substantial three-movement Sinfonia begins with a vibrant portrayal of a sun-drenched Italian landscape; the energetic, fast-paced music suggests a journey through contrasting dramatic vistas. The eloquent slow movement hints at some unspecified programmatic content, deep feelings and memories stirred by calm nocturnal seas. The finale was composed at the height of last year's London riots, and the hectic energy that was originally to have been a tarantella to round off the Italian theme of the piece took on a rougher, darker mood of hysteria, a contemporary urban version of the violent episodes in Shostakovich's 11th (and in a not unrelated harmonic vocabulary). The solo violin pieces present a wide range of technical and emotional challenges in a brief, concentrated span. NewNote Ensemble; Nic Pendlebury.

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