COPLAND: Fanfare for the Common Man. El Salónn México. Clarinet Concerto. Hoe-Down from Rodeo. Suite from The Tender Land
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Le Coq d'Or
ALFANO: The Legend of Sakuntala
On an unspecified date in 1976 there was a special concert in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Music Center of music of Aaron Copland. The composer conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic assisted by the Los Angeles Master Chorale directed by Roger Wagner, and Benny Goodman was soloist in the clarinet concerto. The program featured copland's favorites, as listed above, and all were given delightful performances under the composer's direction. Kirk Browning provides provides splendid video and i is a pleasure observe Copland leading his own music. This has been shown on public TV and now we can experience it at home on this Blu Ray disk. Excellent stereo audio
Many years ago this site mentioned a spectacular Paris Opera production of Rimsky-Korsakov's fairy-tale opera Le Coq d'Or conducted by Kent Nagano (REVIEW). Now we have a new recording from Palais de la Monnaie, Brussels with a fine cast — Venera Gimadieva is a particularly seductive Queen of Shemakha. The La Monnaie Chorus and Orchestra under the sensitive direction of Alain Altinoglu. It is a rather sparse but imaginative modern production designed by Barbara De Limburger with direction and costumes by Laurent Pelly. It is an imaginative presentation, but you will find more magic in the Paris production.
Franco Alfano (1875 - 1944) was an important figure on the opera scene. He composed a number of operas, best known of which are Rissurrezione and Cyrano de Bergerac, the latter occasionally revived as a vehicle for a star tenor. Perhaps Alfano is most famous for competing the finale of Puccini'c Turandot. His rather exotic opera The Legend of Sakuntala was composed in 1921, and here we have the opportunity to experience it in an excellent performance from Teatro Massimo Bellini, Catania. It is a beautiful production of an unusual opera sometimes described as a mysteriuym. The convoluted story is about the maiden Sakuntala, ward of Kanvam, leader of a hermitage. King Dushyanta falls in love with her. Cursed by the powerful evil Durvasas, they are separated. She gives birth to their child, the King realizes he loves her, but it is too late. Sakuntala throws herself into into a pool of nymphs and vanishes in a cloud of flame. Their son, born of an immortal love will become lord of the world. A colorful story indeed, and Alfano has written some very beautiful music. Fritz Reine said of the opera that it is an Italian Parsifal. He was being very kind. The influence of Korngold is always apparent. Orchestration is rich, but there is little memorable here. The fine cast makes a strong case for the opera, but it is easy to understand why it is neglected. The stereo audio is fine and video is excellent.
R.E.B. (May 2018).