Schubert/Hoiby: Introduction, Theme and Variations Op. 82
No. 2/Rieti: Capers/Menotti: Sebastian
Vienna State Opera Orchestra/Jonathan Sternberg
was music director of the Harkness Ballet in 1966-68. He led performances with
the company on tour across the U.S. and in Europe and South America. These
recordings were probably made during a tour of Europe in 1967, but they were
Leo Hoiby (1926-2011)
was an American pianist-composer who often worked with the Harkness Ballet. He
orchestrated an obscure piano four-hands piece by Schubert into a sort of
concerto movement for piano and orchestra. It is a charming piece and the
performance is quite good.
composer Vittorio Rieti (1898-1994) ) studied with Respighi and his Capers recalls Respighi’s ballet score La boutique fantasque. Capers is light music but witty and
The most substantial
piece on the CD is Menotti’s (1911-2007) ballet score Sebastian. It dates from 1944 and is nearly 40 minutes in length.
The “Cortège and Procession” movement is brilliant in the Russian style of
Rimsky-Korsakov and Ippolitov-Ivanov, with piccolo, tam-tam and bells to the
fore, but elsewhere the music is often hauntingly lyrical. Stokowski recorded Sebastian in 1954 and there have been
several recordings since, but this one is well done too.
All the recordings on
this CD are from Jonathan Sternberg’s own collection and as well as documenting
his Harkness Ballet years, they remind us of his efforts to promote American
Sternberg first came
to prominence in Vienna right after World War II. He linked up with the great
Haydn scholar H.C. Robbins Landon and together they made some of the first
recordings of a number of Haydn symphonies and masses. Sternberg went on to
build a career in Europe before returning to the U.S. He was one of the
foremost American conductors of his generation. During 1957-58 he was conductor
of the Halifax Symphony.
Labels: Jonathan Sternberg, Leo Hoiby, product_review, Vittorio Rieti