"If you're a fan of Villa Lobo's Forest of the Amazon and Choros No. 10-this Glass is for you. Forget the rather sludgy polite Robert Shaw/Atlanta Symphony version--this Itaipu rocks with spectacular sonics and a driving performance by the famed LA Master Chorale helmed by Grant Gershon with symphony orchestra. And as an added bonus (the Sony/Shaw release occupies the entire disc) the Chorale weighs in, sans orchestra, with the world premier of Esa-Pekka Salonen's haunting and lovely Two Songs to Poems of Ann Jaderlund . And the sonics on this one--almost make you not want to breathe. One can only hope that when the LA Master Chorale hits the road for eastern performances later this year--Glass and Salonen will be part of its repertoire. Get this cd now!"
Warning: Itaipu has been edited.
A Reader | 02/20/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Almost two minutes have been removed from the Glass piece. I know because I have the Atlanta Symphony recording as well. This may not matter to those who like the melodies but get irritated with the highly repetitve nature of Glass's music. And a previous reviewer is right about the quality of this recording. There is a better balance here between the orchestra and chorus. You can hear different instruments more clearly and the chorus exerts more power here than in Atlanta. But if you appreciate the purer form of minimalism and are familiar with "Itaipu", you will not hear it on this CD. LET THE BUYER BEWARE! And one minor correction to a previous review: the Atlanta Symphony CD has another Glass piece besides "Itaipu". It's called "The Canyon". It starts with a simple rhythm offered only by percussion instruments over which many layers of instrumentation are gradually added. It crescendos in the middle and then descends to it's original starting point. Interesting, but just ok.On the other hand, the Salonen choral work on this CD is wonderful. Lush, hypnotic, mysterious, breath-giving (trust me you'll hear it), and breathtaking. I would have given this CD more stars but the "Itaipu" edits bug me."
Glass, Salonen, and the Inimitable LA Master Chorale
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 05/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First a note about the performers on this extraordinary CD. Grant Gershon now heads the Los Angeles Master Chorale and has assumed the premiere position once held by Robert Shaw, Margaret Hillis, and Roger Wagner as the most sophisticated interpreter of choral music. Not only has he brought the Chorale to new heights of musical professionalism, he constantly challenges his musicians and audiences with commissioned works by significant contemporary composers as well as keeping the folks clapping with transcendent performances of the masterworks.
Case in point is this recording, which includes not only Philip Glass' 'Itaipu, symphonic portrait for chorus & orchestra' in a performance that goes far beyond other recordings in its urgency and meticulous manipulation of the atmospheric repetitive pulsations we have come to expect form Glass' output, Gershon elects to offer the a cappella 'Songs to Poems of Ann Jäderlund, for chorus' by Esa-Pekka Salonen. And for this listener these latter two songs are alone worth the price of the recording.
While Salonen is accepted as one of the more important composers for orchestral and chamber music today, his works for the voice are less well known (though the importance of the human voice in his exquisite 'Wing on Wing' have prepared us for a man who not only understands the vocal instrument but opens venues for expression unused by others). The two songs are eloquent, airborne, and linger in the space around you even after the last notes recede. This is truly beautiful composition and Gershon and the Chorale perform them beautifully. One can only hope that Salonen will continue to write for the voice and pursue his dream of writing opera! Highly recommended. Grady Harp, May 05 "
A Reader | 02/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All thumbs up for some wonderful performances of two instant classics in their respective genres. Itaipu is one Philipp Glass' most cinematic scores, and Gershon and the LA Master Chorale give it a powerful reading indeed. The surprise of this CD are the two pieces by Salonen, however. EPS's choral works to the poems of the swedisch poet Ann Jaderlund bear testimony to his own musical development over the past ten to fifteen years or so, namely influences he took with him. I hear some Ligeti, I sense some of the religious spirituality of a Messiaen. But still; these works sound surprisingly 'medieval', almost gregorian. A gregorian Messiaen, or a gregorian Ligeti? Headshaking, but Salonen makes it possible...! An original combination, and one can see how Salonen is about to discover his own style. Looking forward hopefully for much much more to come.For both pieces: Highly recommended, world class performances."
LA Master Chorale Latest Release
A Reader | 09/26/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Stunning performances by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, under its new Music Director Grant Gershon, of the Philip Glass "Itaipu" and two newly-composed a capella songs of Esa-Pekka Salonen.If Philip Glass is your meat, this is surely the best recording-and the Master Chorale's ability to carry-off the challenge of Salonen's two new pieces is most impressive."