Words And Music

One senses the arrival of an important new talent in Karl Fiorini. These two violin concertos are works of extraordinary power and momentum. The second in particular, a single movement of at least half a dozen tempo changes in 25 minutes, has the drive and narrative purpose of a truly exciting book whose ending you both dread and long for. The phases gather and the wonder is how he will end. How much more inventive can he be? It features a solo line played with almost divine purpose by Marta Magdalena Lelek, carved and smoothed which starts with a cadenza of compelling melody, crept up on by an orchestra which threatens to consume the soloist as she rises ever higher to escape drowning. She is relieved when the timps establish a slow toiling rhythm, with an oboe on the each downbeat calling like a corncrake. Clusters of exotically combined instruments whip themselves towards frenzy. The ominous tread continues until the ground breaks up and percussion instruments reassemble themselves in tentative combinations, eventually latching onto a pulse with most clearly discernible subdivisions. A slow section begins around 10 minutes in, moody with glowing chords, interesting timbrally as harmonically. They open into a sunlight consonance at thirteen minutes and a most beautiful and lengthy sequence for the soloist’s harmonics. The final section changes time like Stravinsky and includes a cadenza of birdlike wit.

Fiorini comes from Malta and is 35 years old. This gripping CD should mark a turning point in his career.

—Rick Jones