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Cat. No. CHAN 10687 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10687 - Schwertsik: Nachtmusiken/Herr K entdeckt Amerika/Baumgesange
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CHAN 10404(*)
 

Available From: 15 August 2011
Schwertsik: Nachtmusiken/Herr K entdeckt Amerika/Baumgesange

The works by the Austrian composer Kurt Schwertsik are characterised by his own particular exploration of tonality, and his sense of musical irony and humour. A pupil of Joseph Marx and Karl Schiske at the Academy of Music in Vienna, he later studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen in Cologne and Darmstadt. Here his works are performed by the BBC Philharmonic under HK Gruber, a close friend of Schwertsik’s and fellow founder of the MOB art & tone ART ensemble and the Third Viennese School.

Baumgesänge, Op. 65 (Songs of Trees) was composed in 1992 to a commission from the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) for the Wien Modern Festival that year. The work is inspired in part by the composer’s childhood memories. In Schwertsik’s own words: ‘Trees are friends. To climb a tree was a great joy to me and still is. In these six movements I have tried to give trees a voice… he who pushes aside his dreams has lost everything.’ 

In Baumgesänge, Schwertsik uses orchestral forces to evoke a sense of the majesty and height of the trees, the blaring wind, and the birdsong in the woods – even the blows of an axe are depicted through the use of tuba, double-bassoon timpani, and piano.

Also on this disc is Herr K entdeckt Amerika, Op. 101, a work inspired by Franz Kafka’s unfinished novel Amerika. Despite the title (Mr K. Discovers America) there is not much specifically American about the music, although the rolling gait and touches of fanfare in the first movement, and the sense of large open spaces in the third movement, all contribute to the strong journeying character of the music.

Nachtmusiken, Op. 104 is Schwertsik’s most recent work, commissioned by the BBC and premiered in Manchester by the BBC Philharmonic under Gianandrea Noseda in 2010. In his ‘night thoughts’, Schwertsik presents a series of urban nocturnes, elegies, and memories in a seductive mix of passion, sorrow, and melancholy that cannot help but to grip and hold captive the listener from start to finish.

Reviews

“...this new Chandos is the best recording I’ve yet heard of this remarkable composer’s music.”
Lehman – American Record Guide – January-February 2012

Top 100 Albums of 2011
No 8 –“ Three works that well convery Schwertsik’s mercurial, ironic, even eccentric sensibility, juggling Romantic tonality and modernist impulse”
The Sunday Times – 11 December 2011

"Listening to new music can be more of a dutiful slog than a pleasure. This disc of music by the quirky Austrian Kurt Schwertsik is a consistent joy... Fantastic stuff, and sumptuously recorded..."

Graham Rickson - theartsdesk.com - 15 October 2011

“...HK Gruber conducts the BBC Philharmonic on another Chandos CD. The composer’s beautiful Nightmusic can easily be taken in, as can Herr K enters America, a kind of road trip across the continent ... I was quite unexpectedly taken by this record.”
Peter Spaull – Liverpool Daily Post – 14 October 2011

"...These pieces well convey Schwertsik’s mercurial, ironic sensibility and his dextrous juggling of Romantic tonality and modernist impulse..."

Paul Driver - The Times - 4 September 2011
 

                     IRR Outstanding
“Gruber ensures the best possible performances of music that proves very engaging... When listening there is an invitation to return to these appealing scores, and it’s difficult to think of them being better served than in these performance conducted by Gruber and captured in dynamic and vivid sound.”
Colin Anderson – International Record Review – September 2011


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Andrew Clements - The Guardian - 26 August 2011

 

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