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  Sony Classical -
  Greenberg: Symphony No. 5, Quintet for Strings - Serebrier
  Jay Greenberg: Symphony No. 5, Quintet for Strings

London Symphony Orchestra
Jose Serebrier (conductor)

Julliard String Quartet
Darrett Adkins (cello)
Track listing:
Recording type:
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Reviews: 1

Review by Edvin October 9, 2006 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
So, this boy born in 1991 is writing music eh? What can I say other than, oh yes he is! Make no mistake, this is the real thing. He started his fifth symphony in 2003 as a twelve year old and finished it two years later and the result is a complete success. I love this work and am absolutely flabbergasted by the maturity of it all.

Of course you can find influences, the first names that occured to me was Piston and Hindemith - not a bad couple. Also the Finn Einar Englund, but I suppose that is more coincidence. Greenberg has a rich melodic gift and apart from that I am so impresed by his ability to keep things together. This is a symphony proper, no rhapsody at all. The first movement has a gorgeous lyrical tune that in lesser hands could have been syrapy and translated into pure Hollywood. But not so here, Greenberg is far too serious for that and he keeps his tunes in a tight rein. He is already a master of balance and the different sections are all created to make a satisfying whole.

The second movement is a scherzo fantastique of the kind you can hear in Franz Schmidts fourth symphony, among others, in 6/8. It is a classic time signature and the music is flowing nicely along with some really lovely ideas. In the slow movement we are presented with an almost impressionistic landscape. A sort of Florent Schmitt meets David Diamond. Greenberg explores the different colours of the orchestra and a sombre melody, quasi religioso, creates a certain bleakness that is very gripping. A most delicate ending with a fanfare-like motive that opens the finale...

Bartok is obvious here. A lovely tune fom the violas, the instrument that Greenberg obviously loves. More violent music interspersed with moments of absolute beauty and idyll. So brilliant and definately a work of genius.

The String Quintet for two violins, two cellos and a viola in the middle. A more concentrated music. Greenberg is building a tension and the solo viola is waxing lyrical. A somewhat nocturnal feeling. The structure is clasically tight and I love the arch form. It is by now obvious that Greenberg loves the viola and at times it makes me think of the Brits Vaughan Williams and Howells.

Scherzo. Some really impressive interplay between instruments with the viola taking the lead. The level of invention is making me open mouthed. The trio shows Greenberg to have a sense of humour as well.

The finale is a tour de force of pure virtuosity. A Tarantella-like music that also Benjamin Britten wrote as a young man, i.e. the Sinfonietta. Two great works of genius´.

To sum up, a great composer I want to hear much more from, in performances that are absolutely staggering. The sound is super. Buy this and listen many times. This definately is one of my records of the year.

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Works: 2  

Jay Greenberg - Quintet for Strings
Jay Greenberg - Symphony No. 5