Magazine article Gramophone

Bernstein: Glass

Magazine article Gramophone

Bernstein: Glass

Article excerpt

Bernstein * Glass

Bernstein Serenade After Plato's Symposium

Glass Violin Concerto No 1

Renaud Capucon vn

Bruckner Orchestra, Linz / Dennis Russell Davies

Orange Mountain Music (F) OMM0114 (64' * DDD)

Glass and Bernstein may not trip off the tongue quite as easily as Bach and Handel or Haydn and Mozart, but bringing them together here via two large-scale works for solo violin and orchestra encourages some parallels to be drawn. As composers, both successfully synthesised elements of classical and popular, high and low, developing direct and accessible musical languages that appealed to a much wider and broader listenership.

Unlike Glass, whose prolific output has been the result of a life dedicated primarily to composition, Bernstein divided his time between conducting and composing. His Serenade After Plato's Symposium, composed in 1954, displays all the hallmarks of a composer intimately familiar not only with the orchestra's light and shade, colours and textures, but also keenly aware of the delicate and fine-grained balance required between soloist and orchestra for a concerto to function effectively.

Based on Plato's philosophical text, which presents different responses by seven Greek philosophers to the question 'what is the nature of true love?', Bernstein's five-movement design also adopts the format of a dramatic dialogue. The first movement contrasts Phaedrus's passionate opening remarks on love's creative and destructive potential with Pausanias's more playful treatment of the subject. …

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