Vivian Fine: Concertante;Johan Franco: Symphony No. 8
Reiko Honsho, piano; Japan Philharmonic, Akeo Watanabe, conductor
North Holland Philharmonic, Henri Arends, conductor

“The Concertante For Piano And Orchestra, written in 1943-44, presents an impressive argument for a two-movement format, exhibiting a compactness rarely found in twentieth century concerti composed of three movements.

“With a rigorous economy of material the Andante poses a lyric question that is eloquently answered throughout the entire movement. The three-note statement, comprising an interval of a third followed by a fourth, begins to develop in a rich manner from the very beginning. The simplicity of the statement acts as an evoking key that opens many gates to reveal lyric, romantic and, at times, voluptuous dialogue between soloist and orchestra.

“The second movement with its rhythmic, baroque drive is cragged but not as severely austere as other works that are termed ‘neo-classic.’ A short woodwind interlude acts as a perfect pastoral-like reflection to the opening, and contrasts, as well, with the following fugal section which renews the energy built up in the opening. The two-part cadenza is extremely effective, with its second part functioning to ignite the orchestra for a sparkling finale. As in the first movement, the ending is abrupt but convincing and conclusive with a conciseness that charms and disarms.”

Johan Franco’s Symphony No. 5 “The Cosmos” is subdivided in four movements, the first and second played without interruption and are entitled The Beginning — Nocturne, The Planets — Earth and Man. Johan Franco’s style is here distinctive and not patterned after any particular school. In his concern for subtlety of structure and melodic expressiveness he seems to be influenced by the French School of the 20th Century. Perhaps more striking and important is the spiritual affinity and, in some degree, technical similarity between Franco and the composers of Palestrina’s school. Both share the same purity of style and mystical quality.

For all its inner complexities, Symphony No. 5 is a work of ready accessibility, being constructed in a forthright uncomplicated style. The four movements are closely related and the climax of the first movement returns augmented at the end of the fourth.


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Japan Philharmonic Orchestra

Vivian Fine: Concertante;Johan Franco: Symphony No. 8

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Track Listing

Concertante for Piano and Orchestra: I. Andante con moto
Vivian Fine
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Concertante for Piano and Orchestra: II. Allegro risoluto
Vivian Fine
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Symphony No. 5 "The Cosmos": I. The beginning - nocturne
Johan Franco
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Symphony No. 5 "The Cosmos": II. The Planets
Johan Franco
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Symphony No. 5 "The Cosmos": III. Earth and Man
Johan Franco
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