Opening 15 mins or so of the Babbitt: ravishing
Peter Heddon | 02/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you ever doubted that Babbitt can represent the human/approachable side of modernism have a listen to the opening ten minutes or so of 'Transfigured Notes': it's an intensely lyrical language but devoid of all the gestural cliches which even composers like Carter/Ferneyhough tend to cling onto when the going gets tough.Babbitt is an uncompromising voice but an all embracing one as well:all of a sudden,there's a clearing at 5:33 minutes and a moment later a melodic motif in the lower strings which could've come out of a Broadway Musical.Completely magical!
Unfortunately,the performance or the piece itself seems to lose it's magnetism in the later stages.
Having been officially declared unplayable by the Philadelphia Orchestra Gunther Schuller conducted the first performance in Tanglewood of which this CD is a momento.Clearly,this was a labour of love for the great Schuller who also also writes the excellent programme notes.
The Stravinsky and Schonberg get rather uneven peformances.Inspired at times,but often a bit heavy footed.