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MENDELSSOHN  ˇ PENDERECKI  ˇ Sextets, SOLOISTS OF THE SPANNUNGEN FESTIVAL 2016

The work’s high opus number should not mislead us: Mendelssohn composed his

Sextet for piano and five strings when he was only fifteen years old. Since he did not hold this early composition in high regard, it was only published after his death. . .

Here one will not yet find innovative writing of the caliber of what Mendelssohn would soon produce in the Octet or in the Overture to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. .

Starting in the 1980s, Penderecki abandoned all avant-garde tendencies and has been increasingly using the music of the 19th and early 20th centuries as his models.

This likewise applies to the Clarinet Sextet, premičred in the year 2000 in Vienna ....

With a generous playing time of 35 minutes, the work presents itself as a reminiscence of great Slavic composers of the 20th century. Here one can easily detect Penderecki’s penchant for Stravinsky, even more so for Bartók and, above all, for Shostakovich ....

(Excerpts from the line notes by Pedro Obiera)


Release Date 16 June 2017  
 
     
   
NIELSEN ˇ PROKOFIEV ˇ Wind Quintets, SOLOISTS OF THE SPANNUNGEN FESTIVAL 2016

QUINTETS To Be Hear

„Nielsen’s music sets itself apart from the prevailing bathos of Late Romanticism thanks to its linear melodies and overall transparency. In his compositional style he displayed skillful mastery of counterpoint and modern rhythm while incorporating elements of Gregorian chant and of folk music.

Accused at times of detached coolness, the composer once justified his approach with the following words: “Why do we have to go on proving ad nauseam that a beautifully sounding third is to be regarded as a gift of God, a fourth as a true experience, and a fifth as the utmost joy?”

We likewise enter the circus ring with Sergey Prokofiev’s Quintet Op. 39 for the unusual combination of oboe, clarinet, violin, viola, and double bass.

Prokofiev wrote this work in 1924 under the title “Trapeze” as a ballet for choreographer Boris Romanov and his itinerant dance troupe: music depicting “scenes from the circus life”.

With its scoring reduced to the bare essentials, the work was designed to be readily performable in all sortsof circumstances and locations. Prokofiev, nevertheless, ended up composing a technically ambitious work, sporting a quirky character and “several rhythmic difficulties”, as he readily admitted himself.”
(Excerpts from the liner notes by Matthias Corvin)


Release Date 16 June 2017
 
     
   
JONIAN ILIAS KADESHA, Violin & NICHOLAS RIMMER , Piano
ENESCU ˇ  RAVEL ˇ SKALKOTTAS

JONIAN ILIAS KADESHA
„A very very rare talent“ (Salvatore Accardo)

It would be wrong to classify Nikos Skalkottas as a National Romantic composer. However, only certain works such as the Greek Dances for orchestra or the Two Little Suites for violin and pianohave kept his name from falling into oblivion.

The Two Little Suites reflect a shift in his last creative years: while maintaining typically strict structural control, Skalkottas was nevertheless evolving toward a less complex style......

George Enescu was Romania’s true musical ambassador. He belonged to the first generation of composers born in the relatively young Kingdom of Romania, but left his native land as a sevenyear-old child prodigyto study in Vienna, then in Paris: from then on, he led a cosmopolitan life.

He would soon become a world-famed celebrity: first as a violinist, soon also as a composer,pianist and conductor. Yehudi Menuhin, his most renowned pupil, referred to Enescu as the most extraordinary human being he ever encountered.
(Excerpts from the line notes by Johannes Jansen)


Release Date 16 June 2017
 
     
   
ANTONII BARYSHEVSKYI , Piano  ˇ GALINA USTVOLSKAYA ˇ Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-6

The Echo of the Apocalypse

„What we are about to hear is not a performance by conceptual artists who have decided to set a discarded Bechstein or Blüthner on fire – no, we are going to hear piano pieces by Galina Ivanovna Ustvolskaya.’

The words of the renowned Dutch music critic quoted above offer a precise, vivid description of the musical output of one of the most enigmatic composers of our time.

It is hard to apply the usual musicological jargon to Ustvolskaya‘s music. She was not the apocalypse of 20th century; she was its echo. Thanks to providence, she was never sent to one of Stalin’s concentration camps: destiny allowed her to live in seclusion as an artist never blinded byhopes of success.

 In choosing solitude, she was by no means a Romantic “hero” fleeing fromreality, overtly proud of fulfilling a mission or playing an exclusive role. Her seclusion,instead, was the bitter loneliness of a noble soul trembling in view of the world’s utter imperfection. . .“(Excerpts from the liner notes by Iosif Raiskin)


Release Date 16 June 2017 
 
     
   
ARMIDA QUARTETT  ˇ FUGA MAGNA

The act of thinking and composing in counterpoint – in fugues – has reigned as the supreme musical discipline ever since Western music emerged around the year 1200 from the shadows of purely oral transmission to be codified in writing, initially in mensural notation……

Our seven-league-boot journey across the realm of fugue begins with the two earliest published German works in the genre for instrumental ensemble from the year 1602. The first of them has ethereal motifs which it rather cautiously explores, whereas the second is based on the folk song O Nachbar Roland, mein Herz ist voller Pein….

The fugue lost its aura and mystique once and for all three decades later in the hands of Beethoven, who treated it as the historical quote of what was already a historical quote. The result was difficult for listeners to grasp, as a review from the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung (1826) clearly shows:

"Perhaps, if the master could actually hear his own creations, some passages might have been written differently. We should not condemn this work too prematurely, however: a time may come when that which at first seemed murky and convoluted will be hailed as clear and pleasant in all of its forms.”
(Excerpt from the liner notes by Reinhard Goebel)

Release Date 26 May 2017   
 
     
   
KILIAN HEROLD, Clarinet & SARAH MARIA SUN, Soprano & Ensemble
MÁTYÁS SEIBER  ˇ MORE NONSENSE ˇ Clarinet Chamber music and Nonsense Songs

PLAYS ON WORDS, JAZZ and KODALY

Sources of inspiration in the chamber music

We already start to uncover a wide range of interpretations and perspectives when we attempt to summarize the life of composer Mátyás Seiber, for he is not easy to pin down. Was he a Hungarian composer of the early 20th-century Budapest school?

A music entertainer on an ocean liner in the 1920s? Was he the first jazz professor in music history, with a chair in Frankfurt? Or was he more of a British artist – since in London, during and after the war, he also worked as a highly respected choir director and composition professor with an international network of contacts?

Mátyás Seiber was all of those. His music, especially his chamber music, displays that same great variety, sometimes in crazy, witty mixtures. This CD features several works where Seiber shone the musical spotlight on the clarinet and/or on the human voice
 (Excerpt from the line notes by Lydia Jeschke)

Release Date 19 May 2017  

www.youtube.com MORE NONSENSE

www.youtube.com The Owl and the Pussycat / More Nonsense

 
     
   
FEININGER TRIO   ˇ RAVEL & DEBUSSY
Piano Trios

Forging their own paths

Claude Debussy was ten years old when was subjected to regular schooling for the first time in his life – when he entered the Paris Conservatoire. He had never attended primary school; instead, his mother had taught him reading, writing and arithmetic as best she could.

At the piano, meanwhile, he had revealed his talent as a child prodigy, and his fate was sealed. The conservatory professors soon found, however, that this pupil was different, strong-willed, impetuous, and rebellious. ..

The resulting piano trio is so spirited and full of vigor that the shadows in which it emerged are simply not noticeable: instead, it testifies to Ravel’s overflowing creative drive. Here, his style is fine-honed to the extreme, pointed and succinct, almost Constructivist. Innovative rhythms and metric structures are the Trio’s most striking feature...
(Excerpt prom the liner notes by Susanne Ziese)

Release Date 19 May 2017  
 
     
ULF SCHNEIDER, violin & STEPHAN IMORDE, piano
Violin Sonatas ˇ Hélas j'ai perdu mon amant !

Hélas, I lost my lover

Stephan Imorde:  Our idea was to view Mozart from the perspective of his wife Constanze: in our attempt to picture how she must have perceived Wolfgang’s life, we embarked on an imaginary journey.

Ulf Schneider: Very few letters written by Constanze have been preserved. Nevertheless, from the great number of letters her husband sent her, we can surmise that the two were emotionally very close. On the basis of those letters, music journalist Jürgen Otten has drawn up a fictitious diary. . .

S. I.: And the title “Hélas, j’ai perdu mon amant” relates to the entire programme. Although taken from the Variations K360, it illustrates the biographical curve we want to trace. “Hélas, I have lost my beloved” is a situation we refer to repeatedly in the programme: not only the loss of four out of six children, but also Mozart’s untimely death. . .

Release Date 21 April 2017   
 
     
   
SEVERIN VON ECKARDSTEIN, piano  ˇ ROBERT SCHUMANN

SCHUMANN‘s FANTASIAS

“The term “fantasia”, in music, mainly refers to a free type of structure. Throughout history, the genre has allowed composers to jot down their musical ideas directly, like an improvisation, just as they first spring to mind.

The fantasia became a popular instrumental genre in the 1800’s, when it started to feature the dreamy, “phantastic” element even more prominently;
the piano and its universe of polyphony likewise played an essential role.

The fantasia was thus an ideal genre for Schumann, whose music I view as the quintessence of German High Romanticism. Schumann’s music is full of expression and driven by passion; at the same time it is disarmingly honest and private. Its textural sonority is full of variety, yet it always remains decent and straightforward, never attempting to posture with easy, flashy, superficial effects or by adding purely virtuosic embellishments.

In my imagination, this music often evokes placid romantic scenes imbued with good-naturedness and a certain vulnerability: people of the simple classes, courtly settings, flowery childish joys, or the secretly shared yearnings of two lovers..."
 (From Eckardstein’s Booklets „Remarks on Schumann‘s Phantasie-Pieces“)

Release Date 17 March 2017   
 
   
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