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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Lowell Liebermann, Violin Concerto, Aiman Mussakhajayeva, Kazakh State Symphony Orchestra, Tigran Shiganyan


Living composer Lowell Liebermann is seemingly riding a wave of popularity unusual for a living artist as a rule, with many performances and much acclaim in recent decades that put him  toward the apex  of the contemporary scene. To further that end we have a  notable new recording of four concerted works for violin in the hands of superlative violinist Aiman Mussakhajayeva. She joins with the well prepared Kazakh State Symphony Orchestra under Tigran Shiganyan for a welcome premiere of four Liebermann works from the millennium and beyond, featuring the especially vital Violin Concerto of 2001 (Blue Griffin Records  BGR645). Also included are the well wrought companions of our current era in his Chamber Concerto No. 1 for violin and the composer at the piano in a new version for string orchestra as the ensemble,  and similarly the Chamber Concerto No. 2 for violin and string orchestra, and then finally the 2011 "Air" for violin and string orchestra.

There is real magic in this music, in some ways reminding of the essence of the Berg Violin Concerto in its expression drenched rhapsodizing, and perhaps also recalling indirectly the late Romantic lyricism of a Samuel Barber, not in obvious ways but effectively and poetically. It is tonal music in an inventive original mode while hearkening back as a glancing remembrance to Impressionist dazzling and shimmering  of light and sound last century, combined with a heightened expression not typical of the full Modern period but lively in the edges recalled of a long time past if you will. All four works have the real potential of joining the permanent repertory of classic concerto fare, deservingly.

This is music to stop questioning, to let play and find what the composer intends and then if of like mind, to surrender to most willingly.  It is a gem of a program to appreciate over a long time I would think. I recommend a listen for your understanding and then repeated listens, too. A good one for your latest Modern Concerto holdings. But that of course is up to you.

Stream the music starting at this link to get a glimpse of it all.

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