New in June 2017
MAIN RELEASE THIS MONTH
This month’s Repertoire Explorer highlight is the full score of Boris Blacher’s Shakespeare chamber opera ’Romeo and Juliet’, written amidst Second World War. Blacher, born in China in 1903, was not affiliated with the Nazis and became one of the leading German artists after the war, equally important as composer and influential teacher. Blacher was often considered as a kind of German Stravinsky, and his most successful work, the Paganini Variations for orchestra from 1947, demonstrate his brilliance, striking originality and manifold rhythmic vitality. His ’Romeo and Juliet’ chamber opera was premièred in 1947 and has only recently entered the international repertoire. The well-balanced, transparent and clear language of the music catches the listener with its dense structure and anti-romanticist realism.
In our series of neglected symphonies from the late romantic era we present four remarkable contributions. Felix Woyrsch’s (1860-44) First Symphony, written in 1906-07, is a stunning masterwork evolving from German tradition, building up a solidly structured but completely original dramatic unity in four movements. The austere and solemn character of the work that shows a great master in counterpoint and harmony in every bar may remind us of Johannes Brahms but it is obvious that Woyrsch is child of his time of paradigmatic change. Boston-born German composer Wilhelm Berger (1861-1911) was an exact contemporary of Gustav Mahler. His First Symphony op. 71 was premièred in 1898 and is a conscious tribute to the Brahmsian tradition. Guido Peters (1866-1937) was a Styrian pianist-composer. His Third Symphony in F-sharp minor was written during First World War, and its Adagio bears the title ’World Peace’. The music is dark and drives forward into the unforeseeable with energetic unrest. Czech-born Eduard Nápravnik (1839-1916) became music director of the Marinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg in 1869 and made a career as one of the most important conductors in Russia. He led more 40 premières of Russian operas and led f. ex. the first performances of Mussorgsky’s ’Boris Godunov’, Tchaikovsky’s ’Pique Dame’ and Dargomyshsky’s ’The Stone Guest’. As a composer he was a great craftsman in the tradition of Glinka and Tchaikovsky. The Third Symphony after Lermontov’s famous poem ’The Demon’ is his most famous work. It was written in 1874.
Other orchestral releases include the Suite No. 6 ending with a combined funeral music and solemn march by Franz Lachner, the legendary friend of Schubert whose music was very popular at its time; the denselessy expressive late Sinfonietta for strings by Albert Roussel written for Jane Evrard ’Orchestre féminin’ in Paris; the two Gymnopédies by Erik Satie that were orchestrated by Debussy; Granville Bantock’s brightly colored Overture to Aristophanes’ ’The Frogs’; and ’Vague T’AO’ for large orchestra by Tona Scherchen-Hsiao, the daughter of legendary conductor Hermann Scherchen who strives to unite western avantgarde and Chinese ritualist theatricality.
We also offer three works for vocals and orchestra: Luigi Cherubini’s dignified funeral music ’Chant sur la mort d’Haydn’ for soprano, tenor and orchestra; Karol Szymanowski’s famous and timelessly moving Stabat Mater; and Carl Goldmark’s Psalm 113 for choir and orchestra.
This month’s chamber music is represented by Frank Bridge’s grand early Piano Quintet, and by a new composer in the Western-Norwegian ‚Amethyst’ series: a Petite Suite for 2 violins and viola written in 1988 by Bernt Kasberg Evensen (b. 1944), a real discovery in a uniquely original tonal language.
The Flemish Edition presents another vitally riveting piece by legendary Jazz artist Jack Sels: ’Bay’s Drum’ for jazz bigband including drums.