Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Vol II, Vol III
Philip Glass (Composer), Gerard Schwarz (Conductor), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (Orchestra), Julian Lloyd Webber (cello); Evelyn Glennie (timpani)
The lush harmonies and rhapsodic lyricism of Philip Glass' mature works may attract many listeners, especially those who enjoy his warm, neo-Romantic music more than his hard-edged, minimalist pieces of the 1970s. Both the Concerto for cello and orchestra and the Concerto Fantasy for two tympanists and orchestra offer grand ideas in their expansive forms, and the music in both works is passionate and sweeping. However, a murkiness hovers over these performances on CD, and the cause of this may be assigned variously to the participants. Glass himself deserves a portion for his over-rich orchestration, in which the instrumental choirs are often layered, bass lines are heavily thickened, and precious little room is left in the middle for his soloists to resonate. Julian Lloyd Webber's cello is practically absorbed in the wall of sound, and his lack of an edge makes his part even harder to make out. The dual tympani parts of Evelyn Glennie and Jonathan Haas are difficult to distinguish from the orchestral welter; indeed, they rumble as a steady roar under the flashy tutti, except in the cadenza, where they are isolated. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, under Gerard Schwarz, is bland and weakly defined, and Orange Mountain's recording fails to create a sense of space and placement.
All Music Guide
This is the first of a series of four CDs that Philip Glass and Orange Mountain Music have planned entitled "The Concerto Project, No. I-IV" Each disc contains two concerti. Omm0016 features Julian Lloyd Webber with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gerard Schwarz performining "Concerto for Cello and Orchestra" and Evelyn Glennie and Jonathan Haas performing "Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra" also with Gerard Schwarz conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. World-class soloists, excellent orchestra, excellent conducting and the beautiful sounding Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool, together with major compositions from the world's preeminent composer, Philip Glass