Journey Through Bohemia/ Philharmonic Hall
VIOLINIST Pavel Sporcl follows in the rebellious footsteps of Nigel Kennedy, being unconventional of dress, and playing not only classical and jazz, but gypsy music as well.
Both Franz Waxman’s Carmen Fantasy and Paganini’s Zigeunerweisen are gypsy based, and are ideal pieces for a virtuoso fiddler to show off his skills. So expect sparks to fly on Saturday at the Phil. After the interval Libor Pesek celebrates his recent 80th birthday by conducting the three most famous pieces from Smetana’s Ma Vlast with accompanying film on the big screen illustrating his beloved Bohemia.
Richard Lea: The Grand Organ of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral (Blu-ray, DVD, CD)
THIS release enables you to see Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral on your TV screen as you have never seen it before, because this organ recital by Richard Lea is the first to be produced in high-definition Blu-ray process with surround sound.For those without Blu-ray, the pack includes the traditional DVD and for those who want better sound than their TV can produce, an audio CD is included.
And what do they contain? Lea begins with a dance by Susato and ends with the mighty Fantasia and Fugue of Liszt, enabling him to show off the splendid trumpets on the front of the organ case.
Between, he has carefully selected a programme with many Liverpool resonances. A Song of Sunshine is by the Crosby born architect composer G Ronald Mason, and The Holy City is by another Liverpudlian Stephen Adams, whose real name was Maybrick, brother of the famous murder victim.
A Bach prelude is included because Jeanne Demessieux played it at the opening recital of the organ 46 years ago, and Lea touches his cap at his former teacher by including Noel Rawsthorne’s arrangement of Londonderry Air. Also there is Joseph Bonnet’s In Memoriam – Titanic and an arrangement of Save the Child from McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio. And there’s George Martin’s Theme One, signature tune of Radio 1.
Visually, to give variety, there are fine views of the cathedral and its crypt, and of its construction. There are appropriate views of the Pier Head and river, of Matthew Street, Titanic and the Irish potato famine in a very well played and produced 80-minute recital. Additionally, in special features, Lea introduces each item, and chorister Matthew Patterson sings the hymn played on the Titanic. Lea illustrates the stops of the organ and, in Theme One, shows how the keyboard and pedals operate.
Priory Records has produced a worthy successor to their Liverpool and Chester Cathedral videos, and it is of interest to a wider public than just organists. Blu-ray buffs can compare the superiority of their system over traditional DVD. And it’s a fine souvenir of the cathedral itself.