World traveler, nomad, mystic and violist, Eyvind Kang has created several of the most wildly creative CDs on Tzadik. Here he turns his hand to ten tunes from Zorn’s remarkable Book of Angels. Featuring spectacular orchestral arrangements and brilliant studio techniques, Eyvind has put together a CD unlike anything on the Angels series, highlighting the spiritual side of the Angels project, the singular lyricism of Zorn’s compositions and his own richly inventive musical imagination. One of the most personal and gorgeous installments in the Masada series, Alastor is a modern orchestral reading of the mystical charts from the Book of Angels.
Alkan was counted in Busoni's pantheon of five romantics alongside Chopin, Schumann, Liszt and Brahms. Brahms and Schumann are the references in the euphoric Grand Duo Concertant - nothing short of a 20 or so minute Sonata in three turbulent movements. This is a work of diving romance and if Alkan had stopped in the style of the first movement then we would have been able to 'place' Alkan. Instead we get a second movement that clamours in bass heavy capering for all the world like a picture of a Black Sabbath. As if to make ‘amends’ the finale is back to the helter-skelter tumble of vivacity we find in the first movement. This euphoria carries over into the Cello Sonata which is in four classically well-tailored movements. Alkan's originality or eccentricity (take your pick) returns for the Adagio which is part sentimental and part affecting. This perhaps offers a parallel with Joseph Holbrooke's chamber works in which sublime ideas and treatment suddenly find themselves up against kitsch music hall ditties. A wild saltarello with grand manner Hungarian gestures from the piano round out the picture.
The two Serenades ‘sung’ by the more rapturously Oistrakh-like Kang are sentimental and are recorded with rich immediacy. The Six Humoresques also arrive courtesy of Kang. These are magical bonbons - each weighted and balanced to perfection even though I favour the rawer vintage set glowingly recorded by Rosand and still available on Vox. True Sibelians must not miss these works and Kang and his orchestra do catch these silvery spells and confident little drinking songs - pride and eloquence, seduction and midnight poetry haunt these pages and it's all one especially well.
My appreciation for Kang Tae Hwan should be clear to all who followed my posts since I was invited in September 2010. Kazuhisha Uchihashi has played with a lot of musicians from Europe (Bailey, Brötzmann, Roger Turner) but also with Leo Smith, Barre Phillips, Otomo Yoshihide and Elliott Sharp. Limited, numbered edition of 300. Packaged in a DVD box.