Symphonic Works by Maltese ComposersALEXANDER VELLA GREGORY (b.1984): Wind, CHRISTOPHER MUSCAT (b.1977): Mesogeios, EUCHAR GRAVINA (b.1994): 3 Pieces for Orchestra and Pre-Recorded Sounds, MARIELLA CASSAR-CORDINA (b.1979): Waiting, ALBERT GARZIA (b.1977): Scent, VÉRONIQUE VELLA (b.19??): Fine Line.
Catalogue Number: 12W061
Label: Navona Records
Description: Malta has a strong tradition of concert music and opera, and this sample of contemporary examples testifies to its national identity, originality and appeal. Diverse as they are, these pieces are all instantly approachable, and based in a tonal language heavily inflected by modes from all over the southern Mediterranean, North Africa and the near Middle East. Muscat's Mesogeios encapsulates all these elements, in a sequence of vigorous dances separated by more meditative passages, incorporating traditional instruments, especially drums. Euchar's Pieces build up imposing masses of orchestral sonority, which are apparently (the notes are far from clear) lent additional microtonal timbres by the superimposition of pre-recorded material from another of the composer’s works. Cassar-Cordina's Waiting is a rich, harmonically sumptuous essay for strings, while Vella's Fine Line is a colorful tone poem variously evoking exotic locations, and dance; the work was "partly influenced by Arthur Golden’s novel Memoirs of a Geisha and the captivating atmosphere it portrays". The Gregory comprises five interludes, extracted to form an independent suite, from what sounds to be a large, impressive neo-romantic symphony that explores the history and culture of Valletta. Garzia's Scent was arranged by the composer as a short dramatic tone poem, from his dance work based on Patrick Suskind’s clever and disquieting novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. The music is tense, obsessive, and propulsive, with a pastoral central section that could be film music for a period drama (appropriately enough, as the novel is set in the 18th century). Malta Philharmonic Orchestra; Sergey Smbatyan.