NAZARENO! Bernstein, Stravinsky, Golijov
This is Simon Rattle’s second recording of Bernstein’s Prelude, Fugue and Riffs and Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto, following the British conductor’s hugely popular 1987 collection The Jazz Album with the London Sinfonietta. This time, in a live recording with the London Symphony Orchestra, those pieces have lost none of their freshness and energy, with LSO clarinetist Chris Richards bringing lyricism and irrepressible energy to Stravinsky’s smooth but sassy concerto. Rattle completes the program with Nazareno, an arrangement by Gonzalo Grau for two pianos and orchestra of Osvaldo Golijov’s oratorio La Pasión según San Marcos. Performed here by pianist sisters Katia and Marielle Labèque (who also commissioned this new version), Nazareno is built on Latin American rhythms and textures that, at times, recall the noise and colors of a Brazilian carnival. There are moments of tender beauty, too. In “Sur,” as Jesus prays in Gethsemane before his arrest, the two pianos create a mood of heartrending intimacy before confusion and chaos set in once more.