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Classical - Released January 3, 2020 | BIS

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José Serebrier has been mostly known for his work as a conductor, stretching back to the middle of the LP era, but his compositions have earned increasing recognition, and in great old age, he has been happy to fill an increasing demand for them. This release, nominated for a 2020 Grammy Award for Best Compendium, offers a worthwhile survey of this remarkable surge of late-life creativity. The Symphonic B A C H Variations for piano and orchestra and the Flute Concerto with Tango were both commissioned for major performers, pianist Alexandre Kantorow and flutist Sharon Bezaly, respectively. The B A C H Variations and the Laments & Hallelujah for orchestra were both completed in 2018, in Serebrier's 80th year. The Variations are an attractive work, with hints of Copland, Serebrier's teacher, and perhaps Ives, and they are notable in that they reflect few influences from the long tradition of "B A C H" works (they are built on the four notes indicated by the letters of Bach's name, with H signifying B natural in the German system). The flute concerto is an impressively virtuosic work, and it may be that the flute concerto and the group of smaller works, many of them reflecting the tango of Serebrier's native Uruguay, will be of the most interest to listeners. Each one, including the marvelously titled "Tango inconclusivo" movement of the flute concerto, is different, and each, to borrow the name of one of the others, is "casi un tango" (almost a tango), with rhythmic and gestural elements of the dance form placed in new contexts. Think Astor Piazzolla's more experimental works, taken to a new level, and certainly of great interest to anyone who likes tango and is its contemporary potentials. Serebrier serves as the conductor on all of the works, leading the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and the Orquestra Simfónica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, except for the flute concerto; this has a different ensemble, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and a different conductor, Richard Tognetti. BIS does a commendable job fusing these diverse sound sources together, and overall, this is a fine new look at the recent work of an underrated composer. © TiVo