MUTHSPIEL: "Pas de deux concertant" Concerto for violin, percussion and
orchestra. RESCH: "Cantus Firmus" Symphonie for Orchestra and Chorus ad
lib. ERÖD: Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, Op. 88.
MOZART: Oboe Quartet in F, K. 370. Oboe Concerto in C, K. 314. Violin
Sonata in B flat, K. 378
BACH: Organ transcriptions by Liszt, Schaab, Widor, Reger, Dupré,
Schmeding and Landmann
Tough going for most listeners—at least until track 5 when we hear the Clarinet Concerto, Op. 88 by contemporary Hungarian composer Iván Eröd (b. 1936). This was composed in 2011 for Sharon Kam, who is virtuoso soloist in this recording. The concerto easily could become a staple of the repertory—it has three movements, the second a melodic andante, and there is much energy in outer movements. Australian-born Christian Muthspiel (b. 1962) is a trombone virtuoso, pianist, conductor and composer specializing in jazz. His Pas de deux concertante composed in 2009 is scored for violin, a huge assortment of percussion (including many unusual instruments), and orchestra. The composer states he attempts to make the violin sound like a percussion, and vice-versa. You will have to decide for yourself if he succeeds, but I found the experience not pleasant; although one can admire the incredible complexity of the writing for percussion. Gerald Resch (b. 1975) is another Australian composer who seems to be on the cutting edge of the Viennese musical scene. His Cantus Firmus, written in 2009, begins with a brief choral statement of a psalm after which the motif is given orchestral treatment—and at the very end of this piece once again we hear, very softly, the chorus. The SACD sound is excellent although not really "surround," and we can assume the performances are exactly what the composers wanted. Approach with extreme caution, although I am confident you will find much merit in the Eröd concerto.
Alexei Ogrintchouk has been principal oboe of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra since 2005, a treasured position in the orchestral world, and has made many superb recordings. For BIS we have a disk of Bach oboe works and music by Skalkottas, for Pentatone there are SACDs of concertos of Bach and Mozart, a Challenge Classics disk of music of Tann and Musgrave, and for the RCOA's own label, we have the premiere of Shchedrin's Oboe Concerto recorded live in 2010 with Susanna Mälkki conducting. Now we have this all-Mozart SACD from BIS and it is a beauty. The major work is the Concerto K. 314, Ogrintchouk's second of the work, along with the brief (14:01) Quartet K. 370. The longest work on the disk is the Sonata K. 378, originally written for violin and piano; this is a family affair, as Alexei's brother, Leonid, is pianist. Excellent sonics as always from BIS, but it is unfortunate more music wasn't included—playing time is but 55:52.
There are no negatives whatever regarding a new Ars Production issues featuring organist Martin Schmeding performing on the organ of the Town Church of Durlach, a magnificent instrument in a perfect acoustic for organ music. Organist Martin Schmeding has made many fine recordings and he is heard in top form in this intriguing collection that features music of Johann Bach arranged by other composers as well as Bach's arrangements of Vivaldi and one of his own chorale preludes. These magnificent arrangements by composers listed above miss none of the majesty of Bach's music. Schmeding's playing could not be bettered, and the massive organ sonorities will delight audiophiles. A terrific SACD, and very well-filled (75:19).
R.E.B. (April 2013)