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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67496
Recording details: December 2004
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: October 2005
Total duration: 30 minutes 28 seconds

'Anthony Marwood keeps a tighter grip on the structural tiller than either Kangas or Andreasson and plays with exquisite polish and intimacy of feeling; he also secures an exceptionally alert and involving contribution from his Academy forces' (Gramophone)

'Anthony Marwood has championed the Vasks over a number of years and delivers a wonderfully moving and intense performance of the solo part. The strings of the ASMF are responsive partners … Their colleagues in the wind, brass and percussion departments prove equally adept in the spiky passage work of the Weill, and the lack of a separate conductor doesn't inhibit Marwood from extracting the maximum degree of virtuosity and sensitivity from Weill's knotty writing … a very special disc indeed' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Marwood directs both performances from the violin, yet his solid command of his troops—the ASMF in fine form—does nothing to take the immediacy away from his own playing, which is gripping from start to finish and furnished with abundant tonal variety and expressive response. The full-bodied sound, too, adds real impact' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Marwood's performances are magnificent, as is the orchestral playing, and Andrew Keener's production is one of the finest I have ever heard from him—which is saying something. A stunning disc, comprehensively recommended' (International Record Review)

'Both are finely played by Anthony Marwood, who also directs; the Weill is wonderfully sleazy, particularly in the waltz-cum-nocturne that forms its kernel. Vasks's musings are an acquired taste, though admirers of Gorecki's Third Symphony and Arvo Pärt's music will find them fascinating' (The Guardian)

'Precise, yet generous in emotion, Anthony Marwood's violin is just what Kurt Weill's violin concerto needs … Marwood, who also conducts, makes a splendid match with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields' (The Times)

'Marwood’s sympathetic playing catches perfectly the musing feel of the whole work: ‘nostalgia with a touch of tragedy’, as Kremer put it. Both the orchestral playing and Hyperion’s sound could scarcely be bettered' (The Strad)

Concerto for violin and string orchestra 'Distant Light'

Cantabile  [3'34]
Andante  [7'13]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
One of the prevailing characteristics of Vasks’ music is its sheer beauty of sound, and his Violin Concerto Distant Light (Tala gaisma in Vasks’ original Latvian), composed in 1996–7 at the request of Gidon Kremer, observes the basic topos of many other Vasks works in its suggestion that music can relieve suffering and assuage grief. When he read Kremer’s book Childhood Fragments he realized they had gone to the same school: ‘But we have only really met now in music. Distant Light is nostalgia with a touch of tragedy. Childhood memories, but also the glittering stars millions of light years away.’

The opening of Distant Light, which is built in a single span of music, places Vasks stylistically exactly where his geographical origins are – between Pärt and Lutoslawski. The violin line slowly opens out over a gentle bed of growingly confident string tone, part diatony, part cluster. The strings disappear behind the first of three cadenzas, the basses then taking up a beautiful lament as the soloist soars ecstatically above. A bright-eyed, folk-like dance episode introduces a change of mood and tempo but is abruptly silenced by the second cadenza – which itself snaps to a close as the basses begin another poignant elegy. The third cadenza, with some deliberately ugly sounds, unleashes what one commentator has called ‘aleatory chaos’ before a rather ill-bred waltz stamps it into submission and an extended coda revisits some of the earlier material and lays the music to gentle rest.

from notes by Martin Anderson © 2005

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