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John Corigliano (b.1938)

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Corigliano, J: A Dylan Thomas Trilogy

Corigliano, J: A Dylan Thomas Trilogy

World Première Recording


Sir Thomas Allen (baritone), Ty Jackson (boy soprano) & John Tessier (tenor)

Nashville Symphony Chorus & Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin

“Fern Hill is a blithe poem, yet touched by darkness; time finally holds the poet “green and dying” …Poem in October begins in Thomas’s seafront town: the poet, marking his birthday, climbs to a high hill, wherehe reflects on his youth and mulls his future … Poem on his Birthday distorts the “lamb-white days”of Fern Hill to the grotesqueries of “herons who walk in their shroud”: Poem in October’s sparkling ocean becomes a gull-haunted river Styx … Author’s Prologue – his penultimate work – was a lavish, exultant poem that bellowed with lust and life. It called for music as unusual as it was buoyant. And it offered A Dylan Thomas Trilogy the formal inevitability I always dreamed for it …" John Corigliano

“Corigliano could have made a comfortable living churning out film scores: his versatility, orchestral wizardry and fluency are undeniable.” BBC Music Magazine

“The Allen baritone is in full, eloquent form, with a ring of mature authority and faultless diction” The Financial Times

“Slatkin and his Nashville forces are persuasive advocates, and Sir Thomas Allen contributes a harrowing performance…” BBC Music Magazine, December 2008 ****

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Naxos American Classics - 8559394

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Corigliano, J: The Ghosts of Versailles

Corigliano, J: The Ghosts of Versailles


Victoria Livengood (Woman with Hat), Kristinn Sigmundsson (Louis XVI), Scott Scully (Marquis), Christopher Maltman (Beaumarchais), Patricia Racette (Marie Antoinette), Lucas Meachem (Figaro), Lucy Schaufer (Susanna), Joshua Guerrero (Count Almaviva), Guanqun Yu (Rosina), Renée Rapier (Cherubino), Patti LuPone (Samira)

LA Opera Orchestra & Chorus, James Conlon

Read Katherine's exclusive interview with John Corigliano about The Ghosts of Versailles here.

Commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera to celebrate its 100th anniversary, John Corigliano’s The Ghost of Versailles received its premiere at the Met in 1991, twelve years after it had been commissioned and eight years past the centennial season for which it had first been envisioned. Nonetheless, it was an instant success. Because of the unique situation, a large cast and extravagant orchestral forces were made available, but aside from that specific context, both John Corigliano and librettist William Hoffman conceived of Ghosts as a work of music theater that celebrates and even takes as one of its principal themes the artistic power of opera: it puts into use lavish operatic resources precisely to introduce a contemporary audience to grand opera.

More particularly, a ”grand opera buffa” is what John Corigliano decided to create, to combine his love for opera buffa, with the requirements of a grand opera house, which is the Met. The success of Ghosts resulted in many performances throughout the North- American continent in the 25 years to follow, one of which took place in February 2015 at the LA Opera, to great critical acclaim.

“It's comic and serious, entertaining and erudite, silly and thoughtful, emotional and mysterious, harrowing and uplifting, intimate and over-the-top — and the more times you see it, the more you'll find in it and the more you'll get out of it.” Los Angeles Times

Conducted by James Conlon, the production was recorded live by the renowned Soundmirror recording company and will now be released on a splendid 2-SACD album as part of PENTATONE’s newly launched American Opera Series.

“The artists of Los Angeles Opera’s 2014 production made as compelling a case for The Ghosts of Versailles as I heard on its first night at the MET in 1991. To have that performance preserved in a recording of this quality is, for this composer, a dream come true.” John Corigliano

“The LA Opera production is well cast, with strong contributions from soprano Patricia Racette, who is a dramatically effective…Marie Antoinette, Christopher Maltman as Beaumarchais, Lucas Meachem as Figaro and an effectively nasal and histrionic Patti LuPone in the small role of Samira” Gramophone Magazine, June 2016

“Christopher Maltman [is] solidly incisive as Beaumarchais, Robert Brubaker [is] vigorous as the villain Bégearss, and Broadway’s Patti LuPone [is] in for a colourful bit as the Turkish singer Samira. The biggest star remains the music itself. Listening to the ensemble numbers, all floating beauties, sparklingly orchestrated, you can only hope for a second Corigliano opera.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2016 ****

Super Audio CD

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Pentatone American Operas - PTC5186538

(SACD - 2 discs)

Normally: $26.25

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Adams: Violin Concerto, Corigliano: Red Violin 'Chaconne'

Adams: Violin Concerto, Corigliano: Red Violin 'Chaconne'


Adams, J:

Violin Concerto

Corigliano, J:

Red Violin ‘Chaconne’

Enescu:

Romanian Rhapsody in A major, Op. 11 No. 1

(arr. Waxman)

Waxman, F:

Tristan and Isolde Fantasia


“The soloist in Sibelius’s Violin Concerto was the beguiling Chloë Hanslip, a sizzling young product of the Yehudi Menuhin School. Hanslip produces a full-blooded sound… Her dazzling technical proficiency made sparks fly.” The Independent, concert review 2005

“It's excellent sense to couple John Adams's Violin Concerto with John Corigliano's Chaconne based on his film music for The Red Violin. Both require bravura of the highest order… This is the fourth recording of the Adams Concerto. …Hanslip's new version seems to me undoubtedly the one to acquire.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2006 *****

“As an overall concept this album is a mess. Franz Waxman's arrangement of Enescu's First Romanian Rhapsody is positioned before the Adams Concerto and sounds like an encore before the main event. Waxman's Tristan and Isolde Fantasia pushes Wagner towards Cecil B DeMille histrionics, while John Corigliano's hacked-together Chaconne is episodic and rhetorical and is severely lacking in the material department.
This is a pity because nothing should hide the fact that Chloë Hanslip is the sort of musician every teenager forced to practise their scales dreams of becoming. The richness and clarity of her tone is beyond learning, and she demonstrates such profound empathy for John Adams's 1993 Violin Concerto that Gidon Kremer (Nonesuch) can consider himself completely outplayed. This is the sort of performance that secures a reputation for life.
The first movement is a particular challenge, as an unwinding melodic line generates itself over a quarter-hour span. Kremer plays the notes mechanically but Hanslip deconstructs their meaning and pieces together a cogent narrative direction that's a bona fide interpretation.
The sing-song ballad quality of the slow middle movement unlocks her lyrical imagination, while the tricky moto perpetuo of the violin part zigzags and breakdances across occasional Nancarrow-like rhythmic overlays in an exuberant finale. Assertive and enthused accompaniment from Slatkin and the RPO, too – everybody's doing Adams the greatest of service.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“…Chloë Hanslip is the sort of musician every teenager forced to practise their scales dreams of becoming. The richness and clarity of her tone is beyond learning, and she demonstrates such profound empathy for John Adams's 1993 Violin Concerto that Gidon Kremer... consider himself completely outplayed. This is the sort of performance that secures a reputation for life.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2006

Presto Disc of the Week

4th August 2008

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Naxos American Classics - 8559302

(CD)

Normally: $8.75

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American Clarinet Concertos

American Clarinet Concertos


Carter, E:

Clarinet Concerto

Corigliano, J:

Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra


Eddy Vanoosthuyse (clarinet)

Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra, Paul Meyer

A tribute to American music! An opportunity to sample some of the most up-to-date American music, with two masterpieces in the concertante genre: the clarinet concertos of Elliott Carter and John Corigliano.

Presented here by leading interpreters of this music, these two pieces are emblematic of the rich stylistic diversity of the American continent.

John Corigliano’s Clarinet Concerto of 1977 showcases the soloist’s virtuosity. It is a highly sensitive work in which the clarinettist plays the role of a valiant hero weathering the storm, the tumultuous, tempestuous material of the orchestra, glinting like a flash of lightning among the discordant detonations of the horns and the thunderclaps of the percussion. But the tumult soon makes way for dreams, the purely melancholy power of the music of this American master, sometimes recalling the most moving moments of his Violin Concerto, which served as material for François Girard’s film The Red Violin (Oscar for Best Film Score 1999).

A different style and a different way of introducing the narrative is found in Elliott Carter’s Clarinet Concerto, composed twenty years later, in 1997. This piece gives the impression of a veritable musical dramaturgy, in which each instrument is treated individually. The composer also treats the concerto itself in a new way, since he sets up an alternating dialogue between the soloist and each of the instrumental groups, which are independent of each other and laid out in a semicircle. The style of the work is characterised by both virtuosity and precision in the articulations and the accents. Elliott Carter, whose 104th birthday is celebrated this year, is unquestionably one of the most inventive composers of his time.

Two worlds, two visions, given a magnificent performance by the clarinet of Eddy Vanoosthuyse under the baton of Paul Meyer.

“Vanoosthuyse clearly has a special affinity for these demanding concertos and advocates their character with concentration and assurance. There’s highly persuasive support from the Brussels Philharmonic. The sound is satisfactory and warmly atmospheric.” MusicWeb International, March 2013

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Aeon - AECD1230

(CD)

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American Classics - Corigliano and Friedman

American Classics - Corigliano and Friedman


Corigliano, J:

Snapshot: Circa 1909

Inspired by the photograph of his uncle and father . world premiere recording

A Black November Turkey

A Black November Turkey takes its title from a savage allegorical poem by Richard Wilbur, and was especially arranged for the Corigliano Quartet. world premiere recording

String Quartet

Friedman, J:

String Quartet No. 2

world premiere recording


Corigliano Quartet

“…Corigliano is very much his own man: capable of a Bartókian concentrated intellectual strength, but ultimately a more lyrical thinker… It's a cogent and moving musical journey, splendidly performed here by the Corigliano Quartet - technically and expressively they're completely on top of this music.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2007 *****

BBC Music Magazine

Chamber Choice - September 2007

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Naxos American Classics - 8559180

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American Songs

American Songs


Bolcom:

Four Cabaret Songs

Corigliano, J:

Two Cabaret Songs

Getty:

Poor Peter

Heggie:

Four Songs

Woolf, L P:

Odas de Todo el Mundo


Lisa Delan (soprano) & Kristin Pankonin (piano)

Super Audio CD

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Pentatone - PTC5186099

(SACD)

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Corigliano, Kverndokk & Denisov: Oboe Concertos

Corigliano, Kverndokk & Denisov: Oboe Concertos


Corigliano, J:

Oboe Concerto

Denisov:

Oboe Concerto

Kverndokk:

Oboe Concerto


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Simax - PPC9041

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Corigliano - Circus Maximus

Corigliano - Circus Maximus


Corigliano, J:

Symphony No. 3 ‘Circus Maximus’

Gazebo Dances


The University of Texas Wind Ensemble, Jerry Junkin

In his astonishing Symphony No. 3, subtitled ‘Circus Maximus’, the celebrated American composer John Corigliano both embodies and comments on the “massive and glamorous barbarity” of our present time, which he sees paralleling the decadence of Ancient Rome.

Scored for a large concert band encircling the audience, it is a musical kaleidoscope of contemporary culture.

In contrast, Gazebo Dances was inspired by “the pavilions often seen on village greens in towns throughout the countryside, where public band concerts are given on summer evenings”.

“Corigliano could have made a comfortable living churning out film scores: his versatility, orchestral wizardry and fluency are undeniable.” BBC Music Magazine

“Just as Corigliano's First Symphony embodied his anger about Aids, this spectacular based on the vast Roman arena the Circus Maximus finds 'parallels between the high decadence of Rome and our present time'. Corigliano rightly slates our entertainment-dominated culture and compares today's ubiquitous obsession with violence to the ancient Romans enjoying the sight of lions devouring human beings for amusement. This is heady stuff and nowhere more so than in the extravagant resources of Circus Maximus itself.
There's a stage band of 37 players plus four to five percussionists; a 'surround band' with 22 players including 11 trumpets and three percussionists; and a marching band that moves down the centre of the auditorium in track 6 and, like everything else, is stunningly caught by the sound engineers. As if that wasn't enough, the work ends with a sustained high note followed by a blast from a 12-bore shotgun! Some sections are as laceratingly violent as Varèse, and there are sirens and whistles too. But there's some repose in 'Night Music I' with its uncanny tapestry of animal sounds even if 'Night Music II' evolves into a nightmare through dotted rhythms. The following 'Prayer' is sustained triadic relief.
The American wind band has a noble tradition and Corigliano has added a substantial work to the repertoire. The Gazebo Dances, originally for piano duet, are affable early pieces with a waltz that falls out of step and a hectic tarantella.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“The American wind band has a noble tradition and Corigliano has added a substantial work to the repertoire.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2009

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Naxos American Classics - 8559601

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Corigliano: Conjurer & Vocalise

Corigliano: Conjurer & Vocalise


Corigliano, J:

Conjurer

Vocalise


Evelyn Glennie (percussion), Hila Plitmann (soprano), Mark Baechle (electronics)

Albany Symphony Orchestra, David Alan Miller

Leading American composer John Corigliano had reservations about writing a percussion concerto, but the challenge fascinated him. The result is Conjurer, a concerto for percussion like no other, in which ‘wood, metal and skin’ are utilised in such a way that the soloist, Dame Evelyn Glennie – the world’s greatest percussion virtuoso – ‘conjures’ the musical material from these three choirs, and the orchestra then shares and develops the themes. Vocalise employs electronics in a way that serves to heighten the expressive beauty of the writing, gradually leading the listener from a purely acoustic experience to one that becomes suffused by amplification and electronics.

Awarded Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2007, Evelyn Glennie is the first person in musical history successfully to create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist. She is the leading commissioner of around 170 new works for solo percussion from many of the world’s most eminent composers.

“I simply can’t remember when I’ve heard percussion arrays captured with such realism...Climaxes are thrilling and fatigue-free, and the soundstage is wide and wondrous. Goodness, what mellifluous and haunting sounds composer and soloist conjure up...Fresh, vital, vigorous; contemporary music of quality, winningly played.” MusicWeb International, 12th February 2014

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Naxos - 8559757

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Corigliano - Mr. Tambourine Man

Corigliano - Mr. Tambourine Man

World Première Recording


Corigliano, J:

Mr Tambourine Man - Seven Poems of Bob Dylan

Hila Plitmann (amplified soprano)

Three Hallucinations from 'Altered States'


… A colleague suggested that I look into the poetry of the songs of Bob Dylan. Having not yet listened to the songs, I decided to send away for the texts only … and found many of them to be every bit as beautiful and as immediate as I had heard – and surprisingly well-suited to my own musical language … these would be in no way arrangements, or variations, or in any way derivations of the music of the original songs, which I decided to not hear before the cycle was complete … I intended to treat the Dylan lyrics as the poems I found them to be. Nor would their settings make any attempt at pop or rock writing. I wanted to take poetry I knew to be strongly associated with popular art and readdress it in terms of concert art – crossover in the opposite direction, one might say. Dylan granted his permission, and I set to work. John Corigliano

“Hila Plitmann, with equal experience in opera, film and musical theatre, has exactly the right kind of natural, microphone-friendly delivery…” BBC Music Magazine, December 2008 *****

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Naxos American Classics - 8559331

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