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Alan Hovhaness: Cello Concerto, Op. 17
Andante - Maestoso
Alan Hovhaness: Symphony No. 22, Op. 236, "City of Light"
Angel of Light
Finale: Largo maestoso
“ City of Light (1970) has some lovely ideas, like the surprisingly sweet and simple string melody in the middle of the 'Angel of Light' movement, and the third movement, Allegretto grazioso, which sounds like a minuet in oriental garb. The outer movements, however, outstay their welcome. On the other hand, the Cello Concerto (1936) is required listening for Hovhaness admirers. The composer destroyed several hundred of his compositions during a period of self-reflection in the early 1940s, but the concerto survived the cull, finally receiving its premiere in 1999. The music's modal tinge is pure Hovhaness, but there is a spareness to the writing that sets it apart from its successors. Indeed, the tone is unrelievedly elegiac, making the Elgar Concerto seem positively jovial by comparison. János Starker brings sad nobility to the ruminative solo part, and Dennis Russell Davies makes the most of the Das Lied von der Erde-like orchestral texture in a warmly recommended disc.”