One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
Google seem to have closed down local search engines. You can use this FreeFind engine but it is not so comprehensive
     
  
You can go to Google itself and enter the search term www.musicweb-international.com followed by the search term.
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now
RECORDING OF THE MONTH


ABRAHAMSEN Quartets


DIETHELM Symphonies


The best Rite of Spring in Years


BACH Magnificat


Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26


Just enjoy it!


.
La Mer Ticciati

Eriks EŠENVALDS

Detlev GLANERT

Jaw-dropping

simply marvellous

Outstanding music

Elite treatment

some joyous Gershwin


Bartok String Quartets
uniquely sensitive


Cantatas for Soprano

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Bernd Alois ZIMMERMANN (1918-1970)
Concerto pour Violoncelle et orchestre en forme de 'pas de trois' (1965/66) [24:39]
Musique pour les soupers du Roi Ubu (Ballett noir) (1962-1967) [18:26]
Elke Heidenreich: Sicher auf dem Seil der Musik über die Abgründe des Daseins [30:09]
Stille und Umkehr - Orchesterskizzen (1970) [9:07]
B.A. Zimmermann O-Töne (aus: Gespräch zwischen H. Josef & B.A Zimmermann, 1968) [30:21]
Mirjam Wiesemann im Gespräch mit York Höller, (2016) [86:15]
Jan-Filip Ťupa (cello)
Sascha Reckert, Philipp Marguerre (glass harps)
Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR/Bernhard Kontarsky
rec. 2012, Funkstudio SWR, Stuttgart.
CYBELE RECORDS SACD KiG008 [3 discs: 198:58]

I last came across Bernd Alois Zimmermann in on the Cybele label in their 2005 recording of his Requiem (review). This present release is volume 8 of the ‘Artist in Conversation’ series, which couples significant repertoire with interviews, in this case one from 1968 from the composer’s home, and further background information and anecdote coming from Mirjam Wiesemann’s talk with York Höller, one of Zimmermann’s students.

Bernd Alois Zimmermann isn’t the easiest of composers to appreciate at first hearing so the educational aspect of this release is an automatic commendation, though with the spoken parts in German the audio aspect of this will inevitably be limited in terms of accessibility to those not familiar with the language. The booklet notes in both German and English are however extensive and make for a fascinating read.

One of Zimmermann’s points of accessibility is his use of ‘stylistic hybrids’. These emerge not only in his use of moments of jazz-infused rhythm and improvisatory playing, but also in the associations that arise through the use of distinctive instruments, introducing folk-music flavours with mandolin and cimbalom, and with the Cello Concerto, creating an aura of cinematic mystery with the glass harp or glass harmonica – the kind that uses actual wine glasses. There is abstraction and modern expressionist writing here which takes a certain amount of extra investment from the listener, but the rewards and returns are delivered in equal measure through this kind of creative and unconventional individuality. This is also music not without its own internalised sense of humour. Dr. Rainer Nonnenmann’s notes describe the solo part as having the role of “a prima donna whose eccentricity repeatedly veers into the buffo territory of Don Quixote.” This is the kind of work that you know you’ll have to listen to more than once – not so much because of its difficulties, but because it will haunt you until you’re reasonably sure you actually heard what you did, rather than having dreamt it.

Musique pour les soupers du Roi Ubu is a seven-part suite “comprised exclusively of quotations and borrowed material.” Following Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi, a satirical play for puppets, this ballet score takes us into a banquet at the court “of this usurper, as ignorant as he is vulgar and prone to violent excess, who relishes annoying his loaded dignitaries from the worlds of art, science and finance…” Sound familiar? This is the kind of satire whose grotesque elements have become equally outlandish truth in places far too close to home for comfort. The music, a gallimaufry of quotes that range from Mussorgsky to Bach via Stravinsky, Beethoven, and numerous other proves remarkably effective in creating an atmosphere of sickly grandeur, fake nobility, ghastly lack of taste and ultimately an air of menace. There is also a recording of Elke Heidenreich’s “modern fairy tale” read by the author. These texts are intended to serve as intermezzos for the music, but are thankfully presented as separate tracks after the music. You can programme the tracks yourself to hear this version if desired, but the text is in German and not printed or translated in the booklet.
 
Stille und Umkehr (Stillness and Turning Back) was Zimmermann’s last purely instrumental orchestral composition, and he had died by the time of its première in 1971 as part of the Dürer year in Nuremburg. The composer was undergoing psychiatric treatment in Cologne while the work was being written, and as the notes describe, it is music of “crisis, barren, gutted, stripped, practically naked, and with a course of events that dissolves into paralysis.” The orchestration of this work is vanishingly transparent, obsessing around a single note, from whose intangible thread is festooned ornamentations of strange darkness and grim portent.
 
There are two spoken sections that follow. B.A. Zimmermann Speaks is introduced and given brief intermediate texts by Mirjam Wiesemann, as the composer talks about his early days, and aspects of his compositional thinking up to his opera Die Soldaten. These are almost aphoristic, rapidly spoken insights of a good-humoured nature, recorded clearly enough and further restored at the Cybele AV Studio. The conversation with York Höller provides further context about Zimmermann’s way of teaching, his character and personality, what happened after his suicide, and esoteric subjects such as the transcendental potential of art.
 
Superbly produced and presented, this is another jewel in the crown of Cybele’s ambitious Künstler im Gesprach series, and fully deserving of its recent award of the Grosser Jahrespreis der deutschen Schalplattenkritik 2017.

Dominy Clements

 

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger