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Brett Dean: The Lost Art of Letter Writing [Hybrid SACD, SACD]

Brett Dean , Jonathan Nott , Martyn Brabbins , David Robertson , BBC SO viola section , et al. Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £14.89 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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 : Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Brett Dean: The Lost Art of Letter Writing + Julian Anderson: Fantasias / The Crazed Moon / The Discovery of Heaven
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Product details

  • Performer: Gondwana Voices, Frank Peter Zimmermann
  • Orchestra: BBC SO viola section, BBC SO & Chorus
  • Conductor: Jonathan Nott, Martyn Brabbins, David Robertson
  • Composer: Brett Dean
  • Audio CD (4 Nov 2013)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD, SACD
  • Label: Bis
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 185,282 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. The Lost Art of Letter Writing (Violin Concerto) - Various Performers
2. Testament (for 12 violas) - Various Performers
3. Vexations and Devotions - Various Performers

Product Description

Product Description

More than most composers currently active, Brett Dean uses music to tackle political and social themes of our times. A common factor in the works on this recording is the sometimes problematic aspects of human communication and the erosion and misuse of language.


'The Lost Art of Letter Writing is Brett Dean's 2007 violin concerto that won the Grawemeyer award for composition two years later. Frank Peter Zimmermann, the violinist who gave the world premiere, plays it quite wonderfully on this first recording.' --The Guardian, 08/11/2013

'What emerges is the voice of a truly gifted composer exulting in new sounds and exciting challenges. Excellent performances.' --Classical Music, December 2013

'Brett Dean's violin concerto 'The Lost Art of Letter Writing' was composed in 2006, revised the following year and won the Grawemeyer Award in 2009...Frank Peter Zimmermann has the measure of the solo part and receives fine support from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in a wondrous surround-sound recording...a fascinating disc.' --Gramophone, January 2014

'All three performances are excellent throughout and Antje Müller's well documented insert notes are another asset to this most welcome and desirable release. It's possibly the most generous one I ever heard with a playing time well over eighty minutes. There's no loss of sound quality even when heard on a standard CD player such as mine.' --MusicWeb International

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Art of Communication 21 Jan 2014
By Mr. A. R. Boyes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The first draw of this excellent programme is the Grawemeyer Prize winning "The Lost Art of letter Writing" - a Violin Concerto in all but name. The four movements take as their starting point letters written during the nineteenth century but though the music is both poetic and descriptive it works equally well as absolute music too. The musical language is reminiscent of Berg's Violin Concerto and there are hints of quotes from Brahms in the first movement.

"Testament", the second work, is based on Beethoven's own testament following diagnosis of his deafness and the work quotes his Razumovsky Quartet. The music for the violas only includes the composer as one of the performers and recalls the musical language of Alfred Schnittke in one of his less capricious works. Short though the work is it carries plenty of expressive weight.

The final work in the programme, "Vexations and Devotions" carries on the theme of human communication, or rather the de-humanisation of it. It's a reflection of contemporary social media and communication systems, written for choir, tape, sampling and orchestra. The mood is dark almost throughout with the first movement setting a poem that reflects on the loneliness of living life through watching others on TV. The second has a chilling and increasingly surreal answer phone message as its centre piece with a seemingly more soulful poem sung by the choir in the background. However, both texts end in the same place. The finale sets the banal and chilling texts of company mission statements but ends with a ray of hope from a poem "A Path to your Door" that suggests we are all richer and more complex than the depressingly automated and commercially driven texts that precede it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a discovery for me 25 Jan 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Mr. Boyes' excellent review sums this music up very well.The concerto (why not call it that?)is reminiscent of Berg, with a bit of Schoenberg thrown in, and three direct quotes from Brahms 4 in the first movement. Like the Berg (at least for me) it needs a few listenings to see what is going on, but it is a fine piece of music. The rest of the disc is at the very least interesting and unusual, the piece based around the prerecorded telephone answer becoming increasingly chilling. I can recommend the whole cd without reservation.

BIS manages to get 86 minutes onto the cd. Why can't the others? A lot of my 2 cd boxes would shrink to 1.
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