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Nazareno (LSO)

Katia and Marielle Labèque (piano), Chris Richards (clarinet), London Symphony Orchestra/Simon Rattle (LSO Live)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Nazareno
Bernstein: Prelude, Fugue and Riffs; Golijov: Nazareno; Stravinsky: Ebony Concerto
Katia and Marielle Labèque (piano), Chris Richards (clarinet), London Symphony Orchestra/Simon Rattle
LSO Live LSO0836   42:24 mins

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Do you want to party? This relatively brief disc features three ebullient works fusing jazz, Latin and classical traditions. Bernstein’s rollicking Prelude, Fugue and Riffs is a Simon Rattle speciality and this is an utterly compulsive swing through this masterpiece of written-out jazz. Clarinettist Chris Richards is judiciously understated in Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto, having joyously let rip at the end of the Bernstein.

The disc’s title work, Nazareno, has its roots in Golijov’s La Pasión según Marcos, a visual and aural extravaganza from 2000 in which Cuban and Brazilian musical styles underpin an imaginative Passion setting. Nazareno is Gonzalo Grau’s arrangement for two pianos and reduced orchestral forces of six of the Passion’s 34 movements. Aside from the soulful ‘Sur’, the result is a foot-tapping, high-octane romp. Shorn of texts and surrounding context, the music gives no hint of its sacred origins or the earlier work’s powerful reflection on state execution. The finale is rambunctiously exuberant in the hands of the evergreen Labèque sisters and Rattle for they are thoroughly relishing the carnival atmosphere. Should it make a difference that this celebration is the mob baying for blood? Do you still want to party?

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Christopher Dingle