Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Some operas have changed musical history: Christoph Willibald Gluck´s "Orfeo ed Euridice" is one of them. Born in 1714, his operatic career started in typical Italian form following the Metastasio model of "opera seria" based on myth or ancient history: recitatives and florid arias generally sung by castrati and sopranos; almost no duets or choirs or ensembles. From 1741 to 1760 he wrote 22. And from 1755 to 1761 a series of nine French comedy operas mainly for Schönbrunn, in a very different style from the Italian ones. So when we arrive to 1762 he had already created 32 operas in the two predominant styles of those times. He was 48 years old, a mature man. It´s worth mentioning that in 1761 he had composed an astonishing "ballet d´action", "Don Juan" , scenario by Angiolini based on Molière, with very dramatic music in the scene where Don Juan falls to Hell. This showed that the right literary stimulus could change Gluck´s music, and in fact it was the poet Raniero Calzabigi´s libretto on the old Greek myth that compelled the musician to write differently. Indeed there are basic changes: the melodies in the arias are simple but expressive, with little ornament; there´s a lot of choral writing; and the "recitativo secco" (only with harpsichord) is substituted with the "accompagnato" of strings. The opera is short in three succinct acts, not overlong as many "opere serie" were. There´s a French influence in the inclusion of dances. But Orfeo is still a contralto castrato, not a tenor. Of course the Orphic myth was essential when opera was invented by the Camerata Fiorentina: Jacopo Peri´s "Euridice", dated 1600, is the first opera that survived those seminal birth years. And Claudio Monteverdi´s "La favola d´Orfeo" (1607, Mantova), was a giant step forward. Gluck´s "Orfeo..." was called a reform opera, but he came back to Metastasio´s model several times. However, his "Orfeo..." had an impact, even if most composers followed the old model, and in 1767 Calzabigi spurred him on and the composer wrote "Alceste" for Vienna, going far beyond the reforms of "Orfeo...". As Gluck wrote in the preface: "I have striven to restrict music to its true office of serving poetry by means of expression and by following the situations of the story". And then, from 1774 to 1779, came his period in Paris, where he succeeded Rameau as the greatest creator of French tragic operas, including an adaptation by Moline of Calzabigi´s "Orfeo...". There Orfeo is a tenor, and some wonderful pieces are added: the Dance of the Furies (derived from the closing pages of "Don Juan") and the beautiful Eurydice aria, "Cet asile aimable et tranquille", plus an expansion of the dances in the final Tableau. Berlioz adapted in 1859 the tenor part to the contralto voice of Pauline Viardot, and a new tradition began. This transposition soon was used also for the Italian version. In fact, many recordings have opted for this change (e.g., Horne with Solti), until more recently historicism tried something else: a countertenor substituting for the castrato. But baritones (Bacquier in BA, Fischer-Dieskau on records) have also sung the part, attracted by its serene beauty. The numerous recordings still list more contraltos than countertenors, and at the Colón from 1924 to 1953 sang contraltos or mezzos; then, Bacquier in 1966 and mezzo Zimmermann in 1977. But in 2009 Franco Fagioli sang the countertenor version at the Coliseo, where the Colón did its season. And this brings me to the musical side of the current presentation of "Orfeo..." at the Avenida by Juventus Lyrica, for they opted also for a countertenor, Martín Oro. Eurydice has always been sung by sopranos, and Amor is a light soprano, also as usual. The 37-member historicist orchestra conducted by Hernán Schvartzman was very good; it included a cornetto and chalumeau (an early clarinet). Although Oro sang unevenly, with hooty highs, he knows the style; as Maria Goso (Eurydice) showed great improvement compared to her Merry Widow and Victoria Gaeta was sprightly and accurate, and furthermore the Choir under Hernán Sánchez Arteaga was enthusiastic, we seemed to have the makings of a correct evening, but it wasn´t so. A poor version, far too fast, of the famous "Che farò senza Euridice", didn´t help. Again the culprit was the production, for María Jaunarena had an unfortunate wrong concept. Instead of respecting Calzabigi and Gluck, she invented an ugly transposition to current times. At the start, Orfeo composes helped by a violin. Eurydice salutes him, goes out; a screech and crash: she is dead. Then a medical team attempts to revive a naked girl quite unlike Goso, to no avail, whilst heavy pseudomedical data is both yelled and projected, interfering the brilliant Gluck Overture. And then, the opera starts, interrupted many times, for Jaunarena has incorporated orphic texts and writings on the Orpheus myth, mostly recited by Oreste Valente in clear Italian, plus several men and women; a particularly tasteless frequent parading of the dead girl was irritating. About twenty minutes of the music are ruined, and as several dances are cut (presumably to spend less), not much was left to be enjoyed. The costumes by Jaunarena are nondescript, and both the lighting and stage designs of Gonzalo Córdova were negative. When you can´t recognize an opera looking at the stage something is seriously amiss. And it was. For Buenos Aires Herald
On Tuesday the HERALD offered its readers valuable background written by Cristiana Visan on the Colón´s Latin American première of one of the most complex Twentieth Century operas: Bernd Alois Zimmermann´s "Die Soldaten" ("The Soldiers"). She included statements by Darío Lopérfido, Artistic Director of the Colón; Baldur Brönnimann, conductor; and Pablo Maritano, régisseur. This reviewer was at the première that same day; the hand programme also has interesting reflexions by Brönnimann and Maritano. On the present article I will assume that you read Visan and won´t repeat facts. First, it´s worth stressing that its presentation was an audacious bet by Lopérfido; it is also the only première of the operatic subscription series. Discarding the utopic original wishes of the composer (it was never done), the revised work nevertheless needs the full resources of an important opera house. My reference is the DVD of Stuttgart Opera´s 1989 staging by Harry Kupfer, conducted by Bernhard Kontarsky. Although their stage is smaller than the Colón´s, the set by Wolf Münzner was built on three tiers permitting when required the simultaneity of three different actions. And his costumes accorded with the original ambience of the Lenz text, written in 1776, so the Countess, e.g., is dressed as in those Pre-Revolutionary times an aristocrat was, with a big hoop-skirt. Zimmermann has conserved the stilted, ceremonious aspects of the Lenz text. For we are still in the Ancien Régime and forms were kept, even in battle. That´s why Kupfer (an avantgarde régisseur) respected dressing codes: because they agree with the words. Maritano, as so many nowadays, transports us to Zimmermann´s time, and that way the text clashes with what we see. Mind you, those decadent years pictured by Lenz nurtured snake eggs that would mature shortly after. He was part of the Sturm und Drang movement and he saw the future, as Büchner did years later in his "Woyzeck". It isn´t irrelevant to know that Lenz died insane and Zimmermann committed suicide. It´s worth mentioning that Wolfgang Rihm wrote "Lenz", an interesting chamber opera on the writer´s final period; we saw it at the San Martín some years ago. And that Manfred Gurlitt, a neglected composer, wrote his own "Wozzeck" (1926) and "Die Soldaten"! (1930). Of course, Berg´s "Wozzeck" was a great influence on Zimmermann, and there are several parallels (homages, in fact) between what may be the most important opera of the Twentieth Century and "Die Soldaten"., although they are also very contrasting: Berg wrote a social drama, Zimmermann a dystopic indictment of the brutal human race. He made me think of the Resnais film in which Henri Laborit insisted on the influence of the reptilian part of our brain; for evolution is very slow, it is still there and leads to unspeakable acts. Half a century has elapsed since "Die Soldaten" was premièred. It retains its power to shock and impact, but it doesn´t move as "Wozzeck" does. Strange, Marie is the main female role in both. Musically, "Die Soldaten" is fully dodecaphonic, whilst most of "Wozzeck" isn´t; both are based on formal structures that are only apparent to the studious scholar. In "Die Soldaten" the brutality is much more explicit and the search for effect is evident. In this opera the soldiers are all beasts; only one voice admonishes them: Eisenhardt, the Padre, tells them: "if these girls are whores it is because you made them so". Marie´s sister, Charlotte, warns her against Desportes, but isn´t helped by their father, nor Stolzius´s mother. However, I don´t find Marie innocent; she is coquettish and is easily conquered by Desportes. The vocality is often quite unpleasant and badly written, with constant unnecessary jumps and absurd insistence on the highest range. There´s very little lyricism. The main musical quality is the handling of the huge orchestra with domineering percussion, and the ability to superimpose as much as three simultaneous vocal monologues and dialogues, each with a different rhythm. Also some moments of spatiality. And the pandemonium of the great soldier scene really stuns. Brönnimann worked hard and after weeks of intensive rehearsals got very good results from orchestra and stage. However, there was a snafu: in the scene between the Countess and her son something went wrong (tenor or conductor) and the scene had to restart. The six foreign singers made their local debut. Susanne Elmark was an admirable Marie; she looks the part and has the vocal agility to vanquish the highest range. And she acts with intensity. Tom Randle (Desportes) was taxed by the tremendous demands but did well. Frode Olsen (Wesener, Marie´s father) showed authority and a solid bass-baritone. Leigh Melrose was an anguished Stolzius and Julia Riley an adequate Charlotte. Only Noemí Nadelmann was below par as the Countess, her voice alarmingly frayed. Apart from Santiago Ballerini´s sole intervention as the son of the Countess (perhaps not his fault), the Argentines were remarkably good, especially Gustavo Gibert (Eisenhardt), Alejandro Meerapfel (Captain Mary) and Eugenia Fuente (Stolzius´ mother). Nazareth Aufe managed with well-placed voice the extremely high range of Captain Pirzel. In the picture were Virginia Correa Dupuy (Wesener´s Mother), Luciano Garay (Captain Haudy) and Christian De Marco (Colonel Obrist). I agree with Lopérfido: "Enrique Bordolini has built a great iron structure: it is a formidable stage design". It has some resemblance to what La Fura del Baus did in Enesco´s "Oedipe". Those cubicles in several tiers allow Maritano to fill them with vivid pictures. However, although he disclaims that his staging stresses graphic depictions, there´s plenty of faked sex acts and most are beside the point. The interaction of the characters was observed with acuity, and some scenes were stunning. The smallness of the cubicles sometimes was an obstacle. The costumes of Sofía Di Nunzio were quite good if you accept the transposition in time. The added videos didn´t make much of a difference. All in all, a necessary venture and an experience to have, though you need strong nerves. Some traditional members of the audience left in the interval, but most stayed and applauded enthusiastically at the end. For Buenos Aires Herald
Ever wonder what sort of concertos exist for the violin beyond the marvelous mainstays from Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Bruch, Brahms and Sibelius? Well- there’s a lot out there. There are a number of tremendous 20th. C concerti that are now pretty well established in the repertoire, such as those by Shostakovich (particularly his First), Barber, Berg, Bartók (particularly his Second) and Prokofiev. Then there are those works which are still relatively rarely sighted in the concert hall, but have been recorded and discussed quite broadly- Korngold’s, Shostakovich’s Second (even greater than the First), the Khachaturian (not a fan!). More recently, there are modern classics by Lutoslawski, John Adams, John Corigliano and Alfred Schnittke. All major works, none heard as often as I’d like live, but all well known among musicians and readily available on disc. Today we’re looking farther out, towards the uncharted frontier of the repertoire. Of course, there’s no point in directing you towards completely obscure works- if you can’t listen to them, there’s really no point. Here then are 10 pieces you should listen to today. If you can buy the CD, you should- downloading a stream does nothing to support future recordings of unknown music. Vote with your pocketbook for a recording industry that continues to make great music widely available. There’s a lot more out there. This list, while “official” and “all time” is by no means exclusive or complete. Which works do you think are the unknown gems of the violin repertoire? Share your thoughts in the comments. The numbering/ordering of the 10 works on this list is completely arbitrary. Schumann Violin Concerto Schumann wrote his final orchestral work for his very close friend, the violinist Joseph Joachim. Joachim expressed great early enthusiasm for the piece, but made a fool of himself during a run through of it with orchestra and then suppressed the work, stipulating it could only be published 100 years after his death. The story of how the work came to light is one of the strangest and funniest in music history. The Violin Concerto has none of the quicksilver wit or boundless fluency of rhetoric that so animates Schumann’s early piano music. Instead, it is austere, strange and often incredibly beautiful music. The slow movement may well be the most haunting few minutes of music written in the 19th C- I can scarcely think of anything so sad and fragile. McCabe- Violin Concerto no. 2 John McCabe’s death in 2015 was a devastating blow to British musical life. While by no means an unknown composer, the sheer magnitude of his accomplishment remains somewhat under recognized simply because so many of his major pieces await commercial recordings and regular performances. One such work is his Second Violin Concerto, a large-scale, bold, magnificent work which combines a sort of Bartókian intensity and strength of character with a potent lyrical impulse. It was one of the pieces that those of us who admired and loved John were scrambling to record before he died. I’m still scrambling. Gál- Violin Concerto Yes- I am biased. This was the first piece we recorded for my first commercial CD as a conductor (for Avie). It was premiered in 1933 in the days just before Hitler’s ascension to power, when Gál was still one of the leading composers of the German-speaking world. On that occasion, it was performed by the leading German violinist of the day, Georg kulenkampff with the legendary conductor Fritz Busch conducting the Dresden Staatskapelle. The work had to wait 71 years for a second performance. The infinitely seductive, magical opening melody sets the tone for a work of sublime lyricism. It’s been compared often to the now well-established Korngold Concerto, a work I’ve also always loved. The Gál is a deeper, greater, more important work. More about the piece and the recording here Gál- Concertino for Violin and Strings Okay, I know the sceptics among you are starting to raise eyebrows. Two Gál concertos in a row on this list? Surely the author is just trying to sell CDs. Say what you will-Gál’s Concertino for Violin and Strings is that good of a piece. I dare say, it’s an even greater work than his magnificent Violin Concerto. And what’s wrong with selling CD’s anyway? The six years since the completion of the Violin Concerto had seen Gál’s life turned upside down. Written just after his family had fled to the UK, it is a work of serene beauty. Gál’s daughter writes of the work that “Gál did not believe in music as a sounding board for the chaos outside, but rather as a place of refuge from the chaos and an affirmation of transcendent values…” Be sure to listen to the astonishing fugue- it’s amazing music, and I was quite pleased with how it turned out in the recording. Critical summary here Schwertsik- Violin Concerto One of the highlights of my 2015-6 season (and there were actually quite a few) was getting my first chance to conduct the music of Kurt Schwertsik. I heard his Nachtmusiken at the Mahler in Manchester festival in 2010 and thought it would be the perfect work with which to launch my tenure at the Colorado MahlerFest. Getting to know more of Kurt’s wise, sophisticated and ridiculously beautiful music has been a joyful by-product of that decision, and one of the most thrilling of his pieces is his Violin Concerto no. 2, “Alayzin and Sacromonte” dedicated to his wife Christa (“my personal advisor”). Schwertsik’s wonderfully enigmatic introduction to the work takes the form of a poem: Under southern skies: Birdcalls at the break of dawn Olive trees in the fragrant heat The wild colors of the dusk The immensity of space in the night Through the curtain of stars …. I almost forgot the palms Weinberg- Violin Concerto It’s easy to see parallels in the lives of Hans Gál and Mieczyslaw Weinberg- both victims of Nazi oppression who had to rebuild their lives in foreign lands. While Gál escaped to the UK, Weinberg went east, settling in the Soviet Union where he became a friend and duo partner of Shostakovich and went on to compose an enormous amount of music. Like Gál, people are finally starting to rediscover and re-evaluate his vast output, and the Violin Concerto is one of his more wonderful offerings. However, where Gál’s music often comes across as a refuge from the horrors of the world, Weinberg’s Violin Concerto plunges us right into the deep end, a sound world of raw emotion and brutal contrast. It’s high stakes, high powered, very moving stuff. Hartmann- Concerto funebre Hartmann’s Concerto may not really belong on this list. It’s been recorded several times and is something of a modern classic among connoisseurs. On the other hand, Harmann’s music seems all but un-programmable outside of the German-speaking world. I first encountered Hartmann via his magnificent First String Quartet. I heard the piece on the radio- my first reaction was that it seemed there was a Bartók String Quartet I didn’t know, but I quickly detected a distinct musical personality in the music and sat in the car till the end of the work to find out what I was hearing. Within a few days I’d tracked down both quartets, the symphonies and much of the rest of his output and have been trying to perform it, without success, ever since. Written at almost exactly the same time as Gál’s Concertino, Hartmann explores darker places. Maybe some advocacy for this, probably his best-known piece, can help open the doors to more regular performances of his music in the rest of the world. Busoni- Violin Concerto 2016 is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Busoni, one of the most influential musical thinkers of the early 20th C. There’s been a certain amount of criticism voiced over the fact that his music will go un-played at this year’s Proms, but it’s not generally easy music to programme. His best known work is his monumental Piano Concerto, a nearly 2 hour long musical behemoth for piano, huge orchestra and male voice choir. The Proms are one of the few organizations that could do it justice, but it would have been a massive commitment of resources. Busoni’s relatively early Violin Concerto is a more user-friendly, if less ambitious, work. I conducted it recently and found it to be rewarding for both the audience and the orchestra. The influence of Brahms and Bruch is easy to spot, and there are some charmingly blatant quotes from the Brahms Violin Concerto and his Third Symphony. Busoni lacks the kind of melodic genius that Bruch and Brahms had in spades, but this concerto is a superbly effective virtuoso vehicle nonetheless, and it has a certain quirky humor to it that I find irresistible. Played by someone like the ever-astonishing Frank Peter Zimmermann, it’s a true tour de force. Einojuhani Rautavaara- Violin Concerto (1976-7) I first encountered Rautavaara’s music at Aspen in the 1990’s. We played Angels and Visitations with a ridiculously young conductor on the podium who had a gift for irritating the players like nobody I’ve ever seen. In spite of everyone’s foul mood, the Rautavaara made a huge impression on many of us, and I’ve been struck again and again by the beauty and power of his music. When I raced out to buy Angels and Visitations, I discovered the Violin Concerto in a fantastic performance by Elmar Olivera. Find it. Buy it. Deborah Pritcard- Violin Concerto “Wall of Water”, In Response to the Paintings of Maggi Hambling The first work we commissioned in my time at the ESO turned out to be a gem. Written for the violinist Harriet Mackenzie, Pritchard as written synaesthetically in response to the remarkable series of paintings by Maggi Habling, “Walls of Water.” Pritchard’s one movement concerto is a dark and intense work, but also a very beautiful one. I don’t think it will stay on an list of “unknown works” for very long. In fact, I think it’s not unreasonable to believe that all ten of these pieces will soon be off this list. Gramophone review here ESO micro-site about the project here Hans Gál- Violin Concerto, Concertino for Violin and Strings, Triptych for Orchestra £12.00 Add to cart Deborah Pritchard- Wall of Water £7.00 Add to cart
"The Art of the Viola" Hindemith: Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 11, No. 4 Beethoven: Duo for Viola and Cello in E flat major 'with Two Eyeglasses', WoO 32 Schumann: Märchenerzählungen for Clarinet, Viola and Piano Op. 132 Händel: Passacaglia for Violin and Viola Britten: Lachrymae Op. 48 - Reflections on a song by Dowland for Viola and Piano Heinrich Koll, Viola - Madoka Inui, Piano - Peter Schmidl, Clarinet - Alexandra Koll, Violin - Milan Karanovic, Cello Recorded 2004 [65:01] Arthur HONEGGER: Complete Violin Sonatas Sonata for Violin and Piano in D minor, H. 3 (1912) Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano, H. 17 (1916-18) Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano, H. 24 (1919) Sonata for Solo Violin in D minor, H. 143 (1940) Laurence Kayaleh, Violin - Paul Stewart, Piano Recorded 2008 [73:02] Paul HINDEMITH: Kammermusik 1-7, Der Schwanendreher Kammermusik No.1 Op.24 No.1 Kammermusik No.2 Op.36 No.1 Kammermusik No.3 Op.36 No.2 Kammermusik No.4 Op.36 No.3 Kammermusik No.5 Op.36 No.4 Kammermusik No.6 Op.46 No.1 Kammermusik No.7 Op.46 No.2 Der Schwanendreher Recorded 1989, 1996, 1999 Lars Vogt, piano - Georg Faust, cello - Kolja Blacher, violin Wolfram Christ, viola, viola d'amore - Tabea Zimmermann, viola - Wayne Marshall, organ Berliner Philharmoniker, Claudio Abbado Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, David Shallon 2 CDs [71:12] + [77:50] THE ART OF THE VIOLA Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963):  Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 11, No. 4 16:03 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1779-1827): Duo for Viola and Cello in E flat major 'with Two Eyeglasses', WoO 32 13:14  Allegro 9:08  Minuetto: Allegretto 4:06 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856): Märchenerzählungen for Clarinet, Viola and Piano Op. 132 13:59  Lebhaft, nicht zu schnell 2:46  Lebhaft und sehr markiert 3:07  Ruhiges Tempo, mit zartem Ausdruck 3:31  Lebhaft, sehr markiert - etwas ruhiges Tempo 4:36 George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) / Johan HALVORSEN (1864-1935):  Passacaglia for Violin and Viola 7:39 Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976):  Lachrymae Op. 48 - Reflections on a song by Dowland for Viola and Piano 13:41 Playing Time: 65:01 Heinrich Koll, Viola Madoka Inui, Piano Peter Schmidl, Clarinet Alexandra Koll, Violin Milan Karanovic, Cello Recorded at ORF Funkhaus Vienna, Studio 2, 19th-22nd May, 2004 Producer: Alfred Treiber - Recording Supervisor: Erich Hofmann Sound engineer: Josef Schütz - Editor: Elmar Peinelt Cover Photo: Koll and Inui, by Martin Vukovits (P) & (C) 2004 Naxos Rights International Ltd Naxos Philharmonic Series naxos 8.557606 Arthur HONEGGER (1892-1955) Complete Violin Sonatas Sonata for Violin and Piano in D minor, H. 3 (1912) 24:35  Largo - Agitato - Largo assai 10:36  Molto adagio 5:28  Sostenuto - Allegro - Maestoso 8:31 Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano, H. 17 (1916-18) 21:31 (dedicated to Andrée Vaurabourg)  Andante sostenuto 8:11  Presto 5:02  Adagio - Quasi allegro - Allegro assai - Adagio 8:18 Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano, H. 24 (1919) 11:56 (dedicated to Fernande Capelle)  Allegro cantabile 4:48  Larghetto 4:22  Vivace assai - Presto 2:46 Sonata for Solo Violin in D minor, H. 143 (1940) 14:59  Allegro 6:13  Largo 2:55  Allegretto grazioso 1:51  Presto 4:00 Playing Time: 73:02 Laurence Kayaleh, Violin Paul Stewart, Piano Recorded in Pollack Hall, Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, from 19th to 21st December, 2008 Producer, Engineer and Editor: Jason O'Connell Editing Engineer: Jeremy Tusz Cover Picture: Spiral staircase in the Arc de Triomphe, Paris DDD (P) 2009 (C) 2010 Naxos Rights International Ltd. www.naxos.com naxos 8.572192 Paul Hindemith 1895-1962 Compact Disc 1 71.12 Kammermusik No.1 Op.24 No.1 1 I. Sehr schnell und wild 1.07 2 II. Mäßig schnelle Halbe. Sehr streng im Rhythmus 3.03 3 III. Quartett. Sehr langsam und mit Ausdruck 3.56 4 IV. Finale: 1921. Lebhaft 6.04 Kammermusik No.2 Op.36 No.1 5 I. Sehr lebhafte Achtel 3.10 6 II. Sehr langsame Achtel - Etwa doppelt so schnell - Im ersten Zeitmaß (doppelt so langsam) 8.36 7 III. Kleines Potpourri: Sehr lebhafte Viertel 1.37 8 IV. Finale: Schnelle Viertel - Fugato. Ein wenig ruhiger - Im Hauptzeitmaß 5.39 Lars Vogt piano Kammermusik No.3 Op.36 No.2 9 I. Majestätisch und stark. Mäßig schnelle Achtel 2.19 10 II. Lebhaft und lustig 4.14 11 III. Sehr ruhige und gemessen schreitende Viertel - Im gleichen reihigen Zeitmaß - Sehr ruhig 7.16 12 IV. Mäßig bewegte Halbe. Munter, aber immer gemächlich 2.49 Georg Faust cello Kammermusik No.4 Op.36 No.3 13 I. Signal. Breite, majestätische Halbe 2.07 14 II. Sehr lebhaft 5.41 15 III. Nachtstuck. Mäßig schnelle Achtel 7.54 16 IV. Lebhafte Viertel - 3.25 17 V. So schnell wie möglich 2.04 Kolja Blacher violin Compact Disc 2 77.50 Kammermusik No.5 Op.36 No.4 1 I. Schnelle Halbe 4.02 2 II. Langsam 8.47 3 III. Mäßig schnell 3.17 4 IV. Variante eines Militärmarsches 2.57 Wolfram Christ viola Kammermusik No.6 Op.46 No.1 5 I. Mäßig schnell, majestätisch - Doppelt so schnell 3.29 6 II. Langsam - Sehr zart und ruhig - Im Hauptzeitmaß - Sehr langsam 6.43 7 III. Variationen: Mäßig schnell bewegt - Gleiches Zeitmaß - Ein wenig ruhiger - Langsam bewegt - Sehr langsam, frei im Zeitmaß 4.24 8 IV. Lebhaft, wie früher 1.28 Wolfram Christ viola d'amore Kammermusik No.7 Op.46 No.2 9 I. Nicht zu schnell 3.11 10 II. Sehr langsam und ganz ruhig 6.58 11 III. quaver = 184 6.16 Wayne Marshall organ Berliner Philharmoniker Claudio Abbado Der Schwanendreher 12 I. 'Zwischen Berg und tiefem Tal' 8.11 13 II. 'Nun Laube, Linden, Laube' - Fugato: 'Der Gutzgauch auf dem Zaune saß' 9.08 14 III. Variationen über 'Seid ihr nicht der Schwanendreher?' 8.50 Tabea Zimmermann viola Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks David Shallon Recorded: 23-26 and 28.II.1996 (CD 1, 1-4, 13-17 | CD 2, 1-4) resp. 18, 19, 25, 26.II.1999 (CD 2, 5-12 | CD 2, 5-11), Philharmonie Berlin Producer: David Groves - Balance engineer: Simon Rhodes Recorded: 30.X.-3.XI.1989 (CD 2. 12-14), Herkulessaal München Producer: Gerd Berg - Balance engineer: Wolfgang Karreth DDD This compilation ® 2007 by EMI Records Ltd. © 2007 EMI Records Ltd. www.emiclassics.com EMI classics 0946 3 97711 2 7
Zimmermann had been performing on the “Lady Inchiquin” Stradivarius for 13 years; it was on permanent loan from a Düsseldorf bank, WestLB. But when that bank failed last year, its successor decided to auction off all of WestLB’s artworks, including this violin. Then a savior – perhaps an unlikely one – appeared.
Last month, when James Levine's retirement was finally announced by the Met, Anthony Tommasini and Alex Ross had a mind-meld on one matter. Alex Ross in The New Yorker: The chief failing of the Levine era at the Met was the company’s sparse, spotty record with contemporary opera. Not until 1991 did Levine get around to presenting a world première, in the form of John Corigliano’s “The Ghosts of Versailles.” That piece has found a footing in the American repertory, but its successors at the Met—Philip Glass’s “The Voyage,” John Harbison’s “The Great Gatsby,” Tobias Picker’s “An American Tragedy,” and Tan Dun’s “The First Emperor”—are a rather miscellaneous group. Levine’s apparent lack of enthusiasm for such major opera composers as John Adams, Thomas Adès, and Kaija Saariaho seemed to delay their progress toward the Met. Latter-day masterpieces like Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s “Die Soldaten,” Ligeti’s “Le Grand Macabre,” and Messiaen’s “Saint François d’Assise” have gone unheard there.Anthony Tommasini in the Times: Still, over the years Mr. Levine conceded that he had not done enough to make the Met a vibrant space for new opera. He described the company as a big, hard-to-push institution, which in many ways it is. Yet in 2013, I was dismayed to hear him address this topic on “Charlie Rose.” Some people, Mr. Levine said, have argued that the Met should present a new opera every year. To that he answered, “I wish I really thought there was a new opera good enough for the Met every year.”That last remark...it is very sad that what comes to mind as a response is "Jimmy, you needed to get out more." There is no paucity of new operas good enough for the Met. The Met should have been commissioning the great composers of our day and building a repertory of great works. This brings us to Zachary Woolfe's article in the Times about his interview with Yannick Nézhet-Séguin, music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra and widely rumored to be the prime candidate to succeed Levine. First, there's the dismaying line about Philly being among the most conservative American orchestras: one longs for the days of Leopold Stokowski and his unending thirst for the new. Just look up the number of important early 20th c. works that got their first US performances under him. Then there's this: When I asked him, though, which underappreciated composers, works or corners of the repertory he might seek to champion — the Nézet-Séguin equivalents of Mr. Levine’s advocacy for Berg, marginalized Mozart or “Moses und Aron” — he seemed slightly at a loss.“It’s still a bit at the beginning,” he said of his career. “I’m still at the stage when I enjoy so much broadening my repertory and the orchestra’s. If someone was someday to say, ‘Yannick has helped bring back this composer,’ I’m not sure who it would be.”I love their operas, but it's sad that Woolfe has to reach for Berg, Mozart, and Schoenberg to find Levine's advocacy for the new and unusual, considering how long Berg and Schoenberg have been gone. And unfortunately, if it is to be YN-S at the Met, don't expect heaps of commissions or the sudden prominence of, say, Schreker. For that, the Met ought to hire my favorite candidate, James Conlon.