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Bauernmusik revisited - Swiss Peasant Music for Brass Quintet
Farmers’ Music of 1850, played on original instruments and arranged by Basil Hubatka
Anonymous: Galop No 8 (1854) [1:21]; Polka No 14 (1854) [2:24]; Lied No 21 (1854) [1:49]; Johann FUCHS (1866-1929) Schwyzer Mazurka [3:16]; Alois ITEN (1814-?) Polka/Schottisch [2:22]
Ferdinand LÖTSCHER (1842-1904) Ländliche Tänzer for 6 Winds: “D’Stanserhorn Bahn” (Schottisch) [1:54]; “Er het nüüme mit mer!” (Mazurka) [3:44]; “Itz mach mere mol: o waie” (Schottisch) 2:59])
Bauernmusik revisited, 13 pieces 1850-1945 arr. brass quintet by Urs Pfister
Ferdinand LÖTSCHER (1842-1904) “Use mit-m!” (Galop) [2:08]
Anonymous: Ländler (c1900) [1:46]
Gabriel KÄSLIN (1867-1951) Schäfli-Schottisch, [3:02]
Josef STUMP (1883-1929) Gruss an die March [2:43]
Josef DENIER (1914-2005) Ännet dem Klausenpass, [2:40]
Marcel TSCOPP Mazurka (c1850) [2:53],
Dominik MÄRCHI (1901-1961) Immer flott [3:05]
Kasi GEISSER (1899-1943) Plappermäulchen [3:02]
Hermann LOTT (1904-1992) So gaht’s im Rössli z’Rothenturm) [3:06]
Josef ZGRAGGEN (1886-1971) Gruss vom Maderanertal [3:50]
Sepp BOSCHI (1917-1983) Kleine Bernadette [2:55]
Jost RIBARY senr. (1910-1971) Rosenzeit [2:56]
Karl STÄDELI (1905-1981) Quecksilber Schottisch [3:07]
Lucerne Chamber Brass (Martin Bieri, Basil Hubatka (trumpets); Phillipp Schulze (horn); Pirmin Rohrer (trombone); Daniel Schädeli (tuba)) with Dani Häusler (clarinet) (Lötscher)
rec. 4-7 July 2006, Kongressaal Hasliberg-Goldern

There are no fewer than 21 tracks on this CD, and I defy anyone to avoid grinning during the first five: a gallop, polka, Swiss mazurka, polka/schottische and song, all played on instruments dating from around 1900. As the extensive notes explain, “since the state of the instruments was not wholly good, and they had not been played for decades, the Bernese wind instrument specialist Fritz Burri revamped them to make them more or less playable once more. The resultant intonation problems were predictable, and offered not just a new experience, but also were the cause of many a laugh during rehearsals.” Clearly by the time of the recording the intonation problems had been solved, but a good time was still being had by all. These short pieces had been found in a set of part-books dating from 1854 belonging to the music society of Hundwill in Canton Appenzell. They may lack sophistication or subtlety but even in the rather dry acoustic in which they are recorded their cheerfulness and innocence is very winning.
The second, shorter, group comprises two Schottisch and a mazurka composed by Ferdinand Lötscher, about whom no information is given other than his dates. Here modern instruments are used and the quintet is joined by a reedy but virtuosic clarinet. The resulting sound immediately reminds this listener of an accordion, and if the pieces are less interesting than the first group they do give an attractive change of texture and at under nine minutes in all they do not outstay their welcome.
The third and longest group is of pieces by a variety of composers and from a variety of dates, all arranged by Urs Pfister. The booklet claims that “we have ascertained that while Urs Pfister’s arrangements do sound somewhat unusual to experienced, traditional listeners, they nevertheless confirm that the arrangements still sound like folk music”. That is however by no means the whole story – what they sound like is the kind of light music arrangements of folk music by, say, Ernest Tomlinson or William Alwyn. Whilst enjoyable in themselves I cannot see how in any meaningful way they “sound like folk music”. I should however stress that they are enjoyable in themselves. The many effects employed include an imitation of yodeling in an anonymous Ländler of about 1900 (Tr 10) and an imitation of a repeating groove in the “Rozenzeit” waltz of 1945. These are all great fun, although the limits of variety in scoring and character are soon reached. Nonetheless taken in small quantities they are all readily enjoyable. Overall this is an unexpectedly enjoyable recording which offers much innocent pleasure.
John Sheppard


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