Respighi’s colourful music could have been written with the clear, full-bodied Chandos sound in mind. Following on from where Geoffrey Simon began for the label in the Eighties, Edward Downes is now exploring the more symphonic side of Respighi’s output, showing there is more to him than the Roman trilogy (if not that much, qualitatively). The present disc includes two of his four concertante works for piano and orchestra, the extended Toccata (according to Tozer’s booklet note, the longest such work in existence) and the quirky Slavonic Rhapsody, with its humorous sideswipe at Dvorák. More characteristic of Respighi is the concert overture derived from his opera Belfagor, about the exploits of a Till Eulenspiegel/Don Juan figure, portrayed with suitably colourful sound-painting. All these, together with the Bachian Three Chorales, are played with marvellous verve and commitment – the BBC PO under Downes has a way with this out-of-the-way repertoire that few can equal. The sound quality on this disc is nothing short of stunning.
The music of Encased in Amber tells it's stories through an intricate mesh of melodies and texture. Described as downtempo, ambient, and dreamy, Encased in Amber puts forth the concept that each time a piece of music is written it crystallizes what was felt and processed in that moment of time, like a fossil caught in amber. The 'Parallel Worlds' project is intended as an audio-visual experience. The artwork of Jeroen Advocaat sets the scene with themes of distance, longing, and the alternative paths forged by the choices we make with our every decision. Told in ten movements over thirty minutes, producer and musician Bryan Gilstein sets genre aside in an attempt to sculpt a distinct and authentic musical voice.