Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra ELENA KATS-CHERNIN Wild Swans

Elena Kats-Chernin was born in Tashkent, but moved to Australia in her teens and settled there after studying and working for over a decade in Germany. She has a knack for creating skillfully composed works with an immediate appeal to a broad range of audiences. She typically draws on a variety of musical traditions for her inspiration, and the suite from her ballet Wild Swans is a case in point. The fairytale of 11 brothers turned into swans whose sister saves them elicits an eclectic score of great delicacy, transparency, and inventiveness. The composer uses a solo soprano voice instrumentally in a wordless vocalise in many of the movements, to a lovely effect. Several movements of the score recall Philip Glass' music, from around the time of La Belle et la bête, and some parts have a Prokofievian sound, but Kats-Chernin's light and delicate touch is always evident. Jane Sheldon has a pure, supple voice that's ideal for the music. Ian Munro is the soloist in Kats-Chernin's lyrical Piano Concerto No. 2, a work with the same kind of stylistic diversity as the ballet suite. Mythic, a large-scale orchestral piece, has a dark, meditative character that sets it apart from the other works on the disc, and overall, it's less distinctive than the others. Ola Rudner conducts the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in a polished reading of the scores. Kats-Chernin is rightfully becoming more recognized in the West, and this collection of three of her large scores makes a compelling introduction to her work. (

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