The pairing of Vaughan Williams' Job and his Symphony No. 9 is a logical one, not least because of the prominent role given to saxophones in both works. Vaughan Williams called Job a "masque," following old English usage, but it's a ballet in all but name, and like many of them it succeeds as a standalone orchestral work. The idea of a ballet based on the Book of Job seems slightly odd until you learn that it was inspired by William Blake's illustrations for the story, which would have been very familiar to Vaughan Williams' audiences in 1930.
In Memoriam. Sad news as Geri Allen has passed away. RIP Geri Allen. Trio 3 played five evenings together with pianist Geri Allen in the New York jazz club Birdland, paying homage to the jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams. They presented fresh and individualistic interpretations of some of the most beautiful pieces of the "First Lady of Jazz". Intakt has recorded these evenings.
Elgar’s Violin Concerto has a certain mystique about it independent of the knee-jerk obeisance it has received in the British press. It probably is the longest and most difficult of all Romantic violin concertos, requiring not just great technical facility but great concentration from the soloist and a real partnership of equals with the orchestra. And like all of Elgar’s large orchestral works, it is extremely episodic in construction and liable to fall apart if not handled with a compelling sense of the long line. In reviewing the score while listening to this excellent performance, I was struck by just how fussy Elgar’s indications often are: the constant accelerandos and ritards, and the minute (and impractical) dynamic indications that ask more questions than they sometimes answer. No version, least of all the composer’s own, even attempts to realize them all: it would be impossible without italicizing and sectionalizing the work to death.