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  • Compassion: A Tribute to Yehudi Menuhin
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Compassion: A Tribute to Yehudi Menuhin Import

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Audio CD, Import, June 19, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Fifteen of the world's greatest living composers contributed works for Compassion, the musical tribute to Yehudi Menuhin and the enlightened ideals of the late violin maestro. The lineup is impressive and seemingly spans the entire spectrum of contemporary composing styles: John Tavener, Hans Werner Henze, Poul Ruders, Iannis Xenakis, Lukas Foss, Philip Glass, and numerous others. Oddly, the music they've written is, for the most part, quite similar--short, somber pieces that, not surprisingly, emphasize the violin. There are some impressive achievements, however. Somei Satoh's "Innocence" for soprano, violin, and cellos sounds a little like the "holy minimalism" of Arvo Pärt; Glass's "Echorus" features the narration of Allen Ginsberg; and Foss's "Romance" pursues a fading-Americana theme and includes an excerpt from Walt Whitman. The six-minute work for violin, string orchestra, and soprano also has a spirited mood, which is quite refreshing on this sobering disc. Violinist and Menuhin collaborator Edna Michell lovingly plays all these pieces with the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. It's a unique tribute to a unique figure in Classical music, but it's not for everyone. For an even better sense of Menuhin's magic, check out one of his legendary early recordings. --Jason Verlinde

Product Details

  • Performer: Cellos of the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Karlsruhe Chamber Music Ensemble, Igor Ardasev, Susan Narucki, Patricia Rozario
  • Orchestra: Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Lukas Foss, Andreas Weiß
  • Composer: John Tavener, Shulamit Ran, Yi [Composer] Chen, Hans Werner Henze, Yinam Leef, et al.
  • Audio CD (June 19, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Angel Records
  • ASIN: B00005LMLD
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,323 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By John G. Schreckengost on November 26, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I ordered this CD after hearing excerpts of it on Chicago's classical music radio station, WFMT. The CD does present a wonderful selection of works by prominent composers of the past decade. The playing is wonderful, and the pieces are valuable contributions to the repertoire. I did find that the pieces were similar enough to not want to hear all 79'13" at one sitting. I am definitely glad that I purchased this recording. How many places can one go to sample works by Tavener, Ran (I particularly liked this work), Chen Yi, Henze, Xenakis and ten other composers in less than an hour and twenty minutes?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael Simpson on June 1, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I agree that this collection of 15 20th-Century music is best taken in portions, rather than its entirety. I enjoy many of the compositions more than others, but on the whole the selections are engaging. I didn't care for the Glass work, "Echorus", but that's my own personal prejudice (this was the first Glass composition to make its way into my 400+ classical CD collection). The less tonal works are hard to digest all at once, but if you have an ear for atonality, you should enjoy the middle tracks, particularly the Leef, Xenakis, Foss, and Husa. The final Duet for violins and string orchestra was my first exposure to a composition by Steven Reich other than his Music for Eighteen Musicians. Unfortunately, my CD has some damage to this track at the very end; I don't know if this is a problem with copies other than my own. This is an eclectic selection, but one that belongs in the library of serious modern music connoisseurs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 27, 2014
Format: Audio CD
The violinist Yehudi Menuhin inspired quite a few 20th century composers, and this compilation celebrates his memory by recording some of the pieces written with him in mind. Note that there are no performances by Menuhin here, but instead we find the project's initiator and Menuhin protegé Edna Michell as the main soloist, with other musicians here being Shlomo Mintz (violin), Ulf Hoelscher (violin), Michal Kaňka (cello), the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and even the poet Allen Ginsberg at one point.

The composer represented here are John Taverner, Shulamit Ran, Chen Yi, Hans Werner Henze, Yinam Leef, Poul Ruders, Somei Satoh, Wolfgang Rihm, Iannis Xenakis, Lukas Foss, Karel Husa, Betty Olivero, Philip Glass and Steve Reich. Michell clearly wanted this tribute to be as ample as possible (the disc comes to 79 minutes), but not everything here interests me and I will limit my comments only to the composers whose music I am presently exploring.

Steve Reich's "Duet" for 2 violins and strings (1993) is a five-minute piece quite representative of this composer's famed minimalism, lush tonality and interest in voices moving in and out of phase. The two violins pay canons in unison, but vary the rhythmic distance between them.

György Kurtág's "Ligatura" for 2 violins (1998) is basically the same work as his "Ligatura - Message to Frances-Marie" op. 31b (hear it on a ECM disc) that had been originally scored for two cellos or one cello with two bows. The two voices move stepwise through a series of chords at an extremely slow tempo, representing Kurtág's wish to say something vast with a minimal amount of material.
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