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DIMENSIONS – Works for String Orchestra
Gregory Hutter: Deploration [1]
Louis Babin: Couleurs [2] – La Suite du promeneur [3]
Reynard Burns: Revolutions [4]
Andrew March: Sanguis Venenatus [5]
Claude Debussy: La Fille aux cheveux de lin (arr. Richard Stoltzman) [6]
Rudy Kronfuss: River of Time [7]
Daniel Burwasser: Flux [8]

Gabriela Kummerová (English horn) [7], Richard Stolzman (clarinet) [6], Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Robert Ian Winstin (conductor) [1], Moravian Philharmonic Strings, Petr Vronský (conductor) [2, 3, 4, 5, 7], Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Kirk Trevor (conductor) [6], Concordia Orchestra, Marin Alsop (conductor) [8]
Recorded at Reduta Hall, Olomouc, Czech Republic (March 1-September 5, 2011) – 52’26
NAVONA RECORDS CD 5895 – CD Rom contains Booklet in English, Photos, Bios, Production Notes, Musical Scores, and other enhanced media

As far as collections of string music go, it must be said that this is an unusual and daring assortment of mostly modern works of the post romantic genre. Perhaps one or two of these in an assortment of string orchestra displays would have been interesting to me. However as practically every one of the works, with the possible exception of Debussy’s “The Maid with the Flaxen Hair” (which was the only piece familiar to me), is in a depressing and melancholy mood, the overall effect of listening to this CD is not at all uplifting or enjoyable. I listened to it again after several days to see if I had just been in a down mood the day I first played it, but the result was the same, even more so. It is not really the music per se, but bad editing of the selections of pieces for the collection.

Another element of this particular collection, which I dislike, is the recorded sound. It is rather flat and dull sounding overall. There is very little lushness whatever to the sound of the strings. I know this will date me to say this, but I could not help thinking what Eugene Ormandy or Leopold Stokowski would make of the sound of a string orchestra in the 1950’s and ‘60’s recorded on 35 mm three track magnetic film. The sound would be vibrant, pulsating, and gorgeous, which would certainly compensate for a great deal of the depressing sound of this recording.

On a positive note, one of the nice features of this CD is the fact that if you place it in your computer and play it like a DVD, you can call up all of the string parts to the musical selections as well as the program notes, bios, photos, and other assorted media.

Micaele Sparacino




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