Of all the 22 Mozart operas available through this M 22 DVD collection by Deutsche Gramophon, Betulia Liberata is the only one that is not staged. This is due to the fact that the piece itself is technically an oratorio, but its dramatic features (a city besieged, murder, starvation, religious conversion) generally assimilate the piece to an opera. And in a way it is a shame that Betulia is not staged since the music itself is not interesting enough to cope well with a concert version. The arias tend to drag along, the music is more serene, less expansive than Mitridate (the prior opera of young Wolfgang), and the musicians need to be seriously good to avoid their audience to fall into boredom… By Autonome
The Danish National Symphony Orchestra premieres the first two symphonies by their outstanding young composer-in-residence, Søren Eichberg. Eichberg is a very accessible composer who writes colourful and effectual music. He is currently working on a commission from the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.
None of these reconstructions are included in Teldec’s Bach 2000, although the better-known ‘originals’ obviously are. The real newcomer is the Sinfonia, BWV1045 (5'34'') ‘to an unknown cantata’ which – as befits a BWV number that immediately precedes the First Brandenburg Concerto – is rumbustious, festive and thematically likeable. Time and again I could sense allusions to other Bach instrumental pieces, though the soloist’s ceaseless arpeggiating is sometimes a distraction. We’re told it’s authentic (the manuscript source suggests a violin concerto in the making) but something about its harmonic language doesn’t quite ring true, though that reaction might well be due to lack of familiarity.
Composer portrait of Jörg Widmann (b 1973 in Munich) with two major orchestral works bridged by Fünf Bruchstücke for clarinet and piano. The Messe was composed in 2006, Elegie in 2005 while the Bruchstücke are amongst Widmann’s earliest published pieces, composed in 1997. On the Bruchstücke he is joined by another great composer/performer, Heinz Holliger, heard here in a recording debut as pianist. Widmann’s astonishingly agile clarinet dominates the Elegie with a range of expression embracing trills, multiphonics and microtones. Christoph Poppen directs the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie with customary élan.
Silvestrov wrote the pieces recorded here, scored for piano solo, string orchestra, and piano and strings, between 1996 and 2005, and they are all representative of his late, meditative, song-like style. After an early career as an experimentalist, Silvestrov embraced the radical simplicity – a style of tonal, melodic, and rhythmic transparency – that has won him many admirers in the general public, but little recognition by the academic community. It would be easy to hear his music as derivative, given the limited tonal palette to which he restricts himself; his apparently naïve and artless approach, however, has an integrity and a genuinely lyrical impulse that make it hard to dismiss.
The four chamber works by Austrian Thomas Larcher recorded here show that's he's a composer to watch out for. His compositional voice is strikingly unencumbered by adherence to any orthodoxy, and his work is direct in its emotional and intellectual communication. My Illness Is the Medicine I Need, for soprano, violin, cello, and piano, is particularly effective; its aphoristic texts come from a Benetton "Colors" magazine that included photographs of psychiatric hospitals and quotations from their patients. Larcher's understated text setting allows the voices of the patients to be heard with unaffected bleakness and it is strongly moving. Even though it uses a contemporary harmonic language, the string quartet Ixxu (1998-2004) is old-fashioned in its emotional clarity. Its last movement, "ruhig," is genuinely peaceful and brings to mind the serenity of Arvo Pärt's Fratres. His 1990 quartet Cold Farmer is similarly direct and generous in inviting the listener in, and here again the slow movement is especially deeply felt and engaging.
Thomas Larcher s sound world is both original and captivating in its fusion of contemplative harmonies with innovative performance techniques. Written for and performed by tenor Mark Padmore, 'A Padmore Cycle' features the composer at the keyboard. Works for solo piano performed by Tamara Stefanovich round out this programme of first recordings. Born 1963 in Innsbruck, composer Thomas Larcher studied piano and composition in Vienna. He first gained renown primarily as a pianist, performing with major orchestras and prominent conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Pierre Boulez and Franz Welser Möst. In 1998, he began to define himself more clearly as a composer. Since then he has composed works for the San Francisco Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, the Belcea Quartet, and for Leif Ove Andsnes, Matthias Goerne, Mark Padmore and Viktoria Mullova and Matthew Barley. He has recorded five CDs with ECM, most recently 'Madhares' with Kim Kashkashian, Till Fellner and Dennis Russell Davies.
This is the story of Sylvia, who looses her stepchildren on a shopping trip in Poland. For fear of loosing her husband's love, too, she is unable to tell him what has happened and returns home, pretending anything is fine. When realising the missing of his children, the father starts a desperate retrieval. He is ready to give up anything in order to find them.