This record is devoted to three American composers who I only met once but whose work I listened to a great deal before and after I met them. And each of those composers provided me with their own illuminating guidance through what is now known as New Music. ………..
While I know that many people have to spend their lives rushing here and there, I should like to suggest that they listen slowly to everything on this recording as a single, whole event. Only by doing this and absorbing the actual sound of the guitars themselves, the vibrations of their strings and the overall architecture of what is here will listeners hear that each piece is not an independent document but that its identity exists precisely in relation to what comes before and after it.Elena Càsoli
The Russian composer Elena Langer, now resident in Britain, draws on influences from her native country (Shostakovich, especially in the chamber orchestration of these songs), from Britain (from Britten to Thomas Adès), and from continental Europe. As a song composer she is able to convey lightness even when dealing with serious material such as the title song cycle setting poems by Lee Harwood (most of the songs on the album are in English). These songs subtly depict love triangles, some of them with both straight and gay elements. Even better are the genuinely playful pieces.
This is the most beautiful of Mozart playing, his last piano concerto given here by Emil Gilels with total clarity. This is a classic performance, memorably accompanied by the VPO and Böhm. Suffice it to say that Gilels sees everything and exaggerates nothing, that the performance has an Olympian authority and serenity, and that the Larghetto is one of the glories of the gramophone. He's joined by his daughter Elena in the Double Piano Concerto in E flat, and their physical relationship is mirrored in the quality, and the mutual understanding of the playing: both works receive marvellous interpretations. We think Emil plays first, Elena second, but could be quite wrong. The VPO under Karl Böhm is at its best; and so is the quality of recording, with a good stereo separation of the two solo parts, highly desirable in this work.