LANGGAARDL String Quartet No. 1. String Quartet No. 5tring
Quartet Movement "Italian" Scherzo.
ZEMLINSKY: Die Seejungfrau (The Mermaid). Sinfonietta, Op.
The UK DK title of this latest Our Recordings release refers to the two countries of the artists; Michala is Danish, and Mahan Esfahani lives in England, perhaps a rather tenuous title, but what counts is the music-making, and it is of the highest order. Last month this site mentioned a superb SACD by these artists of music of Corelli (REVIEW). Now we have this varied program of music the pair have played in many concerts, and the repertory includes some music written for the distinguished recorder master. This is a constant delight in every way, and the sometimes delicate sounds of the instruments have been captured with total realism. A great release!
Music of Danish composer Rued Langaard (1893-1959) is featured on a DaCapo issue, the third and final issueof his string quartets. All of these were written early in his career, 1914-1918 and several were revised later. Many of Langgaard's impressive large-scale works are available on SACD in superb recordings including some of his symphonies and other major works for chorus and orchestra—check our Surround Sound INDEX. These gentle quartets are far removed from the composer's grand, dramatic later works, and these fine performances, beautifully recorded, are an important addition to the catalog.
Zemlinsky's The Mermaid is based on a story by Hans Christian Andersen in which a mermaid rescued a sailor after a shipwreck. The composer left only a general description of events, describing in luxurious music the beautities and dangers of the sea and its creatures as well as he doomed passionate love she has for him. When the rescued Prince does not return her affection, the Mermaid is turned into an eternal spirit of the air. This music was composed in 1905 after Zemlinsky's rejection by Alma Schindler (who later married Mahler) and the score reflects some of the passion he felt for her. This recording uses the recent revisions by Zemlinsky authority Anthony Beaumont (who also has recorded the work).The Sinfonietta is presented here in a version for chamber orchestra prepared by Roland Freisitzer. Why Storgaard chose this instead of he original is a mystery; surely it is not as effective. At any rate, this is, primarily becuse of The Mermaid, an important Zemlinsky issue, and the fine performances has been recorded in fine sound.
R.E.B. (Aprl 2015)