This album features both sides of Strauss’s musical persona (Brahmsian vs Wagnerism) with the Burleske in D minor as well as Ein Heldenleben. While the former is a playful, miniature quasi-concerto for piano and orchestra, the latter epitomises Strauss’s symphonic style: majestic, virtuosically orchestrated, full of grand ideas, but never without irony. In that respect, Ein Heldenleben has more in common with Burleske than one would expect. Strauss’s arguably satirical self-identification with the hero of his symphonic poem is underlined by recurrent self-quotations from previous compositions. The central role of the solo violin makes it another solo concerto in disguise, albeit less overtly than Burleske.
Malija comprises in equal measures Mark Lockheart on reeds, pianist Liam Noble and Jasper Høiby on bass. All three are familiar from their busy workload and prolific collaborations. They played together on Lockheart's quintet recording In Deep, but this is their first outing as a trio. Lockheart contributes more tunes than Høiby or Noble, but other than that the trio is very well balanced. The music has an eclectic feel, bringing together several styles and influences, whilst keeping a singular voice. Indeed, the closing track is called In One Voice, a gentle, exploratory walk which allows each of the trio (and the guest violinist) to contribute to the whole.
At the palace, the royal family and their guests are gathered for Prince Siegfried s birthday celebrations. In a majestic ceremony, Siegfried is made a knight and young girls try to attract his attention, as he must choose a wife during the ball. Overcome by the sudden awareness of his future responsibilities, he escapes into the night and meets a strange flock of swans by a magical lake. White swan by day, human by night, the beautiful Odette awaits an oath of true love to break the curse on her. The great legend of the enigmatic swan/woman is one of the most romantic classical ballets, appropriately set in the era of courtly romance and characterised by elegance, style and harmony.
De plus en plus rares sont les virulents contempteurs du capitalisme et du libéralisme contemporains. Leur voix n’est pas éteinte, mais elle est muselée, sinon discréditée au moins contestée par la suprématie que ce double modèle idéologique et économique exerce désormais, sous des formes certes disparates, sur la quasi-totalité du globe…