Argento: Valentino Dances. Oue

Review by: ClassicsToday

Artistic Quality: 10

Sound Quality: 9

How fortunate the Minnesota Orchestra is to have a composer like Dominick Argento as its “composer laureate”! He has written seven works for the orchestra on commission, and four of them are presented on this exciting CD. Two are medium-length tone poems adapted from his operas The Dream of Valentino and The Voyage of Edgar Allen Poe. The former adds accordion to the orchestra and is a sensuous, voluptuous, tango-inspired work that’s blessed with rich and colorful orchestration; the latter is moody and romantically crazed, building to an anguished climax reminiscent of Samuel Barber at his best. One thing that seems so wonderful about Argento’s compositions is their length. He says what he has to say and then wraps things up; you never have the feeling that anything is padded or superfluous. The tiny Valse Triste, a birthday tribute to former music director David Zinman, manages to be utterly charming and thoroughly complete in less than two minutes. The performances of all the works are splendid and the recorded sound is about the best I’ve heard from Reference in Minnesota. The colorful, cinematic orchestrations are well served by expert production; the various chimes and bell sounds in A Ring of Time are particularly memorable and effective.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: this one

DOMINICK ARGENTO - Valentino Dances; Reverie, Reflections on a Hymn Tune; Le Tombeau d'Edgar Poe; Valse Triste; A Ring of Time

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