American Record Guide
| 2/2002 | Barry Kilpatrick | March 1, 2002
The Izmir Symphony, whose home is found on the Aegean coast, was established in 1975. This recording, made in Munich in 1995, is its first and theMehr lesen
The Izmir Symphony, whose home is found on the Aegean coast, was established in 1975. This recording, made in Munich in 1995, is its first and the first ever by a Turkish orchestra outside of Turkey. It gave me my first chance to hear music by a Turkish composer and a Turkish orchestra.
Composer-conductor Betin Gunes was born in Istanbul in 1957 and studied piano and composition at the Istanbul State Conservatory. From there he went to Germany to study composition, conducting, trombone, and electronic music. His Izmir Alto Trombone Concerto was given its first performance in 1993 by the Izmir Symphony with the soloist heard here. I have written about Thomas Horch before (Nov/Dec 2000: 281; Mar/Apr 2001: 213). Principal trombonist of the Bavarian Radio Symphony, he certainly has good tone and all of the requisite skills, but his playing can be forceful and uninspiring. He has adapted very well, though, to the alto trombone, a little instrument with little solo literature. Pitched in E-fiat, it is not an easy double for tenor trombonists accustomed to instruments in B-flat. Players like Christian Lindberg, Joseph Alessi, and Alain Trudel make it sound light yet full, like a large flugeihorn. Horch compares quite favorably with those artists.
Lyricism, nifty group pyramids and trills, and restraint--unusual for a trombone piece--mark Gunes\'s concerto. In a wary and mysterious I, the soloist plays lyrically over spare orchestral textures. The furtive mood continues in II, as quiet lines from strings and woodwinds lead to lovely playing by Horch. Energy finally becomes a factor in III, but never to the extent I expect. Still, the piece is nicely proportioned, always interesting, and attractive. Gunes favors rich sonorities and has a good imagination. Horch\'s performance is excellent, and the orchestra complements him well.
If Gunes the composer knows how to make the Izmir Symphony sound good, Gunes the conductor doesn\'t fare as well in Villa-Lobos\'s Bachianas Brasileiras 7, where the orchestra sounds washed out. Vague instrumental tone qualities are the products of modestly competent players. Distant miking in a concert setting does not help. The worst problem is anemic bass and tuba sound.
The Izmir Symphony, whose home is found on the Aegean coast, was established in 1975. This recording, made in Munich in 1995, is its first and the