Bruce Levingston - Nightbreak: Works by Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Wolfgang Rihm, Philip Glass (2011) [Re-Up]

Posted By: Designol
Bruce Levingston - Nightbreak: Works by Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Wolfgang Rihm, Philip Glass (2011) [Re-Up]

Bruce Levingston - Nightbreak (2011)
works by Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Wolfgang Rihm, Philip Glass

EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue&Log) ~ 205 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 187 Mb | Scans included
Genre: Classical | Label: Sono Luminus | # DSL-92144 | Time: 01:03:45

In his release, Nightbreak, acclaimed pianist Bruce Levingston has recorded an album of works that display the light and dark of the human soul. From the dramatic sound-portraits of Franz Liszt’s powerful and moving “Vallée d’Obermann” and Brahms anguished “Edward” Ballade to the world premiere recording of Philip Glass’s brilliant and thrilling “Dracula Suite”, Levingston’s virtuosic and deeply searching performance on this CD captures a panoramic range of colors and emotions.

The second release in a triptych by Mr. Levingston for Sono Luminus, Nightbreak also contains Mr. Levingston’s signature creative programming with elegant and poetic interpretations of nocturnes and waltzes by Liszt, Brahms and Wolfgang Rihm. In addition, he has recorded Liszt’s magnificent, impressionistic “Les jeux d’eaux à la Villa d’Este”, a tour de force of color and chiaroscuro in sound.

At first I thought Bruce Levingston’s new piano recital would be James Bond-themed. Its title, Nightbreak, is apt - Bond was known, after all, for taking nights off from defending the crown - and the cover photo has Levingston, in bowtie and popped collar, looking dashing against a vivid orange dusk scene. But the pianist’s own explanation for his recital is more credible: “I realized, quite unconsciously, that I had assembled and recorded a number of works that vividly display the light and darkness of the human soul….this collection reminded me of that moment when day meets night, when the spectrums of the sun and moon mingle together with a mysterious, nuanced and haunting palette: ‘nightbreak’.”

For James Bond, nightbreak is just the beginning of the party. Levingston is rather more sober, and his pianism is of the same variety: probing, consciously deep, slowed-down. He opens with Liszt’s Vallée d’Obermann, a performance in which he tries to penetrate the deepest, darkest parts of Obermann’s soul at psychoanalytic length (15:56 to Berman’s 14:24). When bits of light do sneak through (as in the sixth and twelfth minutes) they feel, ironically, like daybreak. This performance is not quite fiery enough to be epic, but it is pianism on a grand scale. The opening of Les Cloches de Genève, by contrast, feels as light as air. Ultimately, though, this movement and Les jeux d’eaux begin to run together in their mixture of lightness and incredibly slow tempos. For the latter, Levingston takes 10:15, which means that after a very promising beginning there is both surface glitter and an odd heaviness, more like cold ocean water than the fountains of a villa.

The first two Brahms pieces, an intermezzo from Op 116 and a ballade, both feel much more impressionistic than you’d expect of Brahms, and possibly more than you’d want of him too. The Brahms waltz, in D minor Op 39 No 9, is given a relatively ‘straight’ treatment and paired directly with Wolfgang Rihm’s Brahmsliebewalzer, an excellent tribute to the earlier composer. The two waltzes, I have to say, were recorded in a different session from the rest, and the difference is telling; these two tracks feel less present, and a bit clangier. Dorian is its usual excellent self for the rest.

Levingston has actually saved best for last: a suite from Philip Glass’s Dracula. These are among Glass’s most characterful short pieces, with instantly compelling portraits of Dracula, Van Helsing, and a couple of especially good scenes. The lead-in to the final reprise is excellently done and Bruce Levingston’s nocturnal tone finally meets its perfect match. That this is a world premiere recording is even more exciting.

Aside from the Glass (and Rihm), the album is a bit of an acquired taste; in the case of some of the slower performances, they become a bit droopy for me. I’ll still take several other pianists in the Liszt Années excerpts, but the Dracula suite is eleven minutes of pure excellence. I’m glad to have heard it, and your curiosity should be piqued.

Review by Brian Reinhart, MusicWeb-International.com

Bruce Levingston - Nightbreak: Works by Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Wolfgang Rihm, Philip Glass (2011) [Re-Up]


Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
01. Vallee d'Obermann (15:56)
02. Les cloches de Geneve: Nocturne (8:07)
03. Les jeux d'eaux а la Villa d'Este (10:15)

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
04. Intermezzo, Op.116, No.4 (6:07)
05. Ballade in D minor, Op.10, No.1 (6:35)
06. Waltz in D minor, Op.39, No.9 (2:02)

Wolfgang RIHM (b.1952)
07. Brahmsliebewaltzer (3:35)

Philip GLASS (b.1937)
Dracula suite
08. I. Dracula (1:49)
09. II. Carriage Without a Driver (2:21)
10. III. In His Cell (2:51)
11. IV. Van Helsing And Dracula (2:13)
12. V. Dracula (reprise) (1:55)

Exact Audio Copy V1.0 beta 1 from 15. November 2010

EAC extraction logfile from 13. December 2011, 21:06

Bruce Levingston / Nightbreak

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==== Log checksum E016BAB352D1EC7C6E9C36AE1ACCBF8CFBAF1B0D3274BB09B005C80285A689DE ====

foobar2000 1.2 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2018-02-27 19:05:12

Analyzed: Bruce Levingston / Nightbreak

DR Peak RMS Duration Track
DR11 -0.10 dB -16.59 dB 15:56 01-Liszt - Vallee d'Obermann
DR16 -0.10 dB -23.31 dB 8:07 02-Liszt - Les cloches de Geneve: Nocturne
DR14 0.00 dB -19.41 dB 10:15 03-Liszt - Les jeux d'eaux а la Villa d'Este
DR15 -5.13 dB -27.30 dB 6:07 04-Brahms - Intermezzo, Op.116, No.4
DR13 -0.10 dB -19.81 dB 6:35 05-Brahms - Ballade in D minor, Op.10, No.1
DR13 -8.76 dB -27.69 dB 2:02 06-Brahms - Waltz in D minor, Op.39, No.9
DR13 0.00 dB -19.05 dB 3:35 07-Rihm - Brahmsliebewaltzer
DR12 -0.72 dB -17.60 dB 1:49 08-Glass - Dracula Suite - I. Dracula
DR11 -1.35 dB -17.91 dB 2:21 09-Glass - Dracula Suite - II. Carriage Without a Driver
DR14 0.00 dB -21.67 dB 2:51 10-Glass - Dracula Suite - III. In His Cell
DR11 0.00 dB -14.59 dB 2:13 11-Glass - Dracula Suite - IV. Van Helsing And Dracula
DR12 -0.71 dB -17.81 dB 1:55 12-Glass - Dracula Suite - V. Dracula (reprise)

Number of tracks: 12
Official DR value: DR13

Samplerate: 44100 Hz
Channels: 2
Bits per sample: 16
Bitrate: 374 kbps
Codec: FLAC

Bruce Levingston - Nightbreak: Works by Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Wolfgang Rihm, Philip Glass (2011) [Re-Up]

All thanks to original releaser - GFox

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