2020
53,674 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

a

 

 



selling Internationaly

 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                     Editor in Chief: John Quinn              

Some items
to consider


Chopin Edition 17CDs
now available separately
£11 post-free anywhere


TROUBADISC

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


 

Recordings of the Month

August


Jean-Baptiste LEMOYNE


Enescu Ravel Britten


Debussy Images etc.


53 Studies on Chopin Études 1
Konstantin Scherbakov (piano)

 

July


KAPSBERGER
Che fai tù? - Villanelles


Cyrillus KREEK
The suspended harp of Babel


SHOSTAKOVICH
violin concertos - Ibragimova


Peteris VASKS
Viola concerto - Maxim Rysanov


The Complete Lotte Schöne

 

 

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Hans Werner HENZE (1926-2012)
San Biagio 9 Agosto ore 12.07 (1977) [7:15]
Concerto per contrabbasso ed orchestra (1966) [29:07]
Serenade (1949) [8:13]
Trauer-Ode (1997) [7:37]
Daniele Roccato (double bass), Orchestra Sinfonica Abruzzese/Tonino Battista, Ludus Gravis
rec. 2015-2019, Auditorium del Colle, Piediluco; Auditorium del Parco, L’Aquila; Teatro ‘Filippo Marchetti’, Camerino, Italy
WERGO WER73912 [52:11]

I was greatly intrigued by Daniele Roccato and the Ludus Gravis ensemble in their ECM recording of works for double bass by Stefano Scodanibbio (review), and so the prospect of a new recording of works by Hans Werner Henze for double bass from the same musicians had immediate attraction.

Roccato writes of his meetings with Henze and the genesis of the double bass version of the Trauer-Ode, and his affinity with this music is palpable from the outset. San Biagio 9 Agosto ore 12.07 is quite a lyrical piece for double bass solo and, while there are technically complex gestures here and there, and some moments of drama, this is largely reflective, almost introverted music. The performance here is done in concert (solo) tuning, a tone above that usually found in the orchestral double bass – a version that goes against the instructions in the score but was allowed for Roccato by the composer.

For double bass players, the Concerto “has been wrapped in a legendary aura. Everybody had a copy of the solo part, though few left it on the stand for more than an hour a year, and almost no-one dared to attempt a performance.” Early performances simplified certain passages that were considered unplayable, but the original version is now within the reach of the newer generations of players. Gary Karr’s recording on Deutsche Grammophon was conducted by the composer, and has for many years been the only reference for this work. We are told that Karr in fact made only a few changes, but technically Roccato’s is the premiere recording of the original version. Karr’s playing is exceptional, and his expressive vibrato at times turns the bass into something as light as a cello, but Roccato’s intonation is superior and the confident playing of the Orchestra Sinfonica Abruzzese makes the work sound less exploratory and experimental. This is uncompromising music, but is as rewarding as it is challenging. Henze himself wrote that “the first movement is a kind of song, the second one is a burlesque, and the last one a Chaconne. I have imagined the double bass expressing feelings and dreams of a faun in a southern European landscape. His moods are erotic but also light-hearted and sometimes funny.” Reading of Roccato’s gradual opening out of his technique to adapt to the demands of the score leads me to imagine this can perhaps be applied to its appreciation as a listener. If you furrow your brow and worry about it you might get a headache, but if you relax and allow it to roll over you, allowing its abstractions and its complex textures and narrative to make their own way in your imagination, then similar revelations might occur.

Serenade was originally written for the cello, but works very well on the double bass, especially when played as well as it is here. This is a piece in nine short movements comparable in some ways to a baroque suite, with a Menuett by way of a conclusion, but with movements such as a nervy Tango in between. Trauer-Ode or ‘Mourning-Ode’ was originally written for six cellos, and Henze was initially against Roccato’s adaptation for six double basses. Ensemble Ludus Gravis eventually turned up at his villa, and after running the piece through a couple of times the composer was smiling and convinced, wetting the project’s head with wine and having the version added to his list of published works. The new version was initially prepared as part of a theatre project, and the piece does have considerable dramatic impact. The instruments growl and sing, meeting at times in confluence and beauty, and at others talking or arguing amongst each other like animated musical sculptures.

Daniele Roccato is a force to be reckoned with in the music world in general but in that of the double bass in particular. You might expect an entire programme of modern double bass music to leave an impression of darkness, and indeed the final Trauer-Ode isn’t one to bring out to dispel gloom, but with technical brilliance of this kind on any instrument this kind of well-produced recording lifts one’s spirits in admiration, and when you get to know it Henze’s music need not be as scarily avant-garde as you might have imagined.

Dominy Clements



Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage



Musicweb sells the following labels

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
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger