Monday, 27 August 2012

Busy Busoni - A Review

The following is a review I just submitted to Classicsonline of Busoni orchestral works, featuring the Clarinet Concertino, by the Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma conducted by Francesco La Vecchia. It's on the NAXOS label and you can find it here.

Before seeing this album I only knew the name Busoni from a transcription of Bach on a James Rhodes album. I was lured in to this one however by the clarinet concertino – I collect clarinet concertos. I’m very glad I got it too, not just the one piece but the whole album.

Most of the pieces, like the Lustspielouverture and the Flute Divertimento, are lively classic fare with an infusion of something more modern than I’d expect. The whole album is very energetic, and captured beautifully in the recording which has clarity with all the instruments. There’s also a richness to the music and a constant sense of movement; it’s never boring.

It’s never more surprising though than the Rondo Arlecchinesco, which lives up to its zany namesake. Even after several listens the sudden entrance of the tenor is surprising.

And of course I have to talk about the Clarinet Concertino. What a delight! It’s not as robust and dramatic as the rest, allowing for a quieter moment which in itself is no bad thing, but the way the clarinet seems to drift over the other instruments as if they were the water and it the boat, is simply magic.


Hello and welcome to Wandering Capriccio, the place where I share my love for classical music. I figure a little introduction is a good way to start. First of all, I’m an enthusiast, nothing more. I have no training beyond second grade clarinet. So don’t look for in-depth analysis here or hassle me out if I call something good that is ‘technically’ not up to some standard or other. I’m into the music for its beauty, its passion, its humour or its despair.

Why this blog? Because it’s fun and I like to share. I’ll post reviews of albums – which I mostly get from classicsonline – talk about events if there are any coming up I’m attending or whatnot, and share little factoids I may come across. I guess that’s what blogs are all about after all. And of course, I’ll share some music too, with links to youtube etc.

The big event at the moment, ABC Classic FM’s Classic 100 – The Music of France. I’ve been looking forward to this since last year’s finished, and once the initial list went online I’ve been contemplating my votes. I was working on the basis that it would be like last year’s voting and I could shortlist on the site, then cull it down to 10. So imagine my surprise to learn you can’t and you’re only allowed five votes! Turmoil is all I can say my response to that has been.

With 10 I figured I was fairly safe to include all three of the Saint-Saens I wanted to vote for (Organ Symphony; Danse Macabre; Carnival of the Animals), now I’m thinking it’ll have to be one. Same for Faure, which will have to be his Pavane because it’s one of my all time favourites. So that’s two gone, three to go and oh-so many options to fill them. It’s tough, so I’m trying to think which ones people will vote for anyway, so not worry about them, but that leaves the trick of ‘what if everyone assumes that?’ Imagine a French Classics countdown with no Debussy in the top five. But I’m feeling pretty confident my favourite of his, Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faun, will do well enough without me. So yes, I’m probably not voting for dear Claude, even in his sesquicentenary.

To make up for it here’s a version of his third Nocturne, the Sirens, conducted by Pierre Boulez.