After beginning a three-album Bruch series with the little-known Violin Concerto No. 3, Op. 58, Liebeck here takes up one of the composer's most famous works, the Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26. The rest of the program, though, advances the aim of Hyperion's Romantic Violin Concerto series, which is to recover forgotten works of the period. The little Romance in A minor, Op. 42 and the Serenade in A minor, Op. 75 both got started as concertos, but never came to full fruition.
Tommy Smith, the great Scottish saxophonist, composer, bandleader and educator, studied classical orchestration in the 1990s, and has played in plenty of challenging jazz/classical settings. But Modern Jacobite is his most ambitious journey yet, centred on an intricately woven three-movement symphonic work inspired by the Jacobite uprisings; it is bookended by a rapturous tenor-sax improvisation on Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, and by Chick Corea’s famous Children’s Songs interleaved with Smith’s own Bairn’s Songs as personal variations on the same theme. The Jacobite pieces embrace violent, cinematic soundscapes for slewing brass and thundering percussion; deep cello themes that segue into pulsating tenor-sax ruminations; Scottish folk dances that become pipe-toned tenor jigs.
British composer Jonathan Harvey has all the credentials of a classic modernist, and while his music would never be described as making the slightest concession to the New Accessibility of the late 20th century, the attractive, colorful surfaces of his work coupled with unerringly visceral intuitive development makes him a composer who can appeal to more than just hardcore new music aficionados. (…) The BBC Scottish Symphony, led by Ilan Volkov, plays with a confident mastery of the demanding scores and a sensitivity to their mercurial shifts and transformations. NMC's sound is clean, detailed, and present. (The composer recommends that listeners take a pause between the pieces, to surround each with a cleansing silence.)
Lowell Liebermann was born in New York City in 1961 and has swiftly risen to become one of the most prolific and performed American composers of his generation. Many awards and prizes have accompanied him through the first thirty-six years of life and his first fifty-six completed works, and he has written for virtually every instrument and in most forms.