1971, Music

Mennin: The Cycle, Ginastera: Milena (Release date unknown) by Various Artists

It’s really hard to like compilations like this, even though I like the music. This compilation contains no information about its release date or the dates of the performances. The composers and artists are listed, but the reason for such an arbitrary combination of two pieces is never given. (The one commonality: both are orchestral works which also rely on the human voice, which could describe a quarter of the “classical” music in existence.)

Mennin I don’t know. He is from the more conservative stream of 20th century music, but this symphony (#4) is certainly inventive enough to hold my attention. I don’t know if it qualifies as ‘neo-classical’ as it feels a little strained at times, but it’s decent enough. Certainly it is easy to understand why I had never heard of him before but it’s pleasant enough. I have no idea why such a recording would be on the same disc as the Ginastera piece, except because the label was able to purchase the rights cheaply to both pieces.

The ‘Milena’ is chaotic, whacky and frightening. It’s everything I love about post-tonal music. I have no idea whether or not this is considered a decent recording of it but I am surprised it is one of Ginastera’s lesser known pieces.


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