Joel Rosenberg / Boris Brott / Kirk Trevor

Wallace: Concertine; Concerto Variations; Second Dance Suite

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Perfectly pleasant and warmly engaging, these orchestral works by American-Canadian composer William Wallace won't hurt anyone and might entertain almost everyone. True, they are written in a conservative, tonal idiom, but they have an integrity, an individuality, and a poetic sensibility all their own. As played here by violist Joel Rosenberg with Kirk Trevor conducting the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra Bratislava, Wallace's Concertino for viola and orchestra is a charmingly small-scale work with ingratiating melodies and remarkable joi de vivre in the finale marked Headlong. The central Concerto Variations performed by the London Symphony directed by Boris Brott is a more imposing work on a chaconne-like harmonic pattern that gets immensely loud by the final bars. The closing Second Suite of Dances, once again with Kirk Trevor leading the SRSO Bratislava, is the lightest but most immediately appealing work on the disc, and its Tarantella may be an excellent way for previously unfamiliar listeners to first encounter the music of William Wallace. Albany's sound is honest and true, but somewhat shallow.

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