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Poetic Inspirations August KLUGHARDT (1847–1902)
Schilflieder (Songs of the Reeds), Op. 28 (1872) [19:35] Charles Martin LOEFFLER (1861–1935)
Two Rhapsodies for Oboe, Viola, and Piano (1901) [21:23] Felix WHITE (1884–1945)
The Nymph’s Complaint for the Death of her Fawn (1921) [8:08] Marco Aurélio YANO (1963–1991) Modinha (1984) [2:45] Paul HINDEMITH (1895–1963)
Trio for Viola, Heckelphone, and Piano, Op. 47 (1928) [14:44]
(oboe); Richard Young (viola); Ricardo Castro (piano)
rec. 19, 20, 22, 23 April, 16-17 October 2007, WFMT, Chicago
world premiere recordings of the White and Yano. ÇEDILLE CDR90000 102 [67:10]
have a good eye for recording opportunities and a wealth
of world class players at their disposal in and around the
Chicago area. Here they studiously avoid the obvious not
only in the ‘fix’ of the ensemble but also in the repertoire
selected. The Loeffler rings a dimly familiar bell with older
hands if only because of the famouse Sprenkle-Basile-Tursi
recorded by Mercury and once issued on a Eastman Rochester
of Klughardt though? A German romantic touched with
the wand of Schumann and Brahms – especially the former.
These five pieces are poised and poetic with the occasional
surprise including the Lisztian turmoil of the Feurig (tr.
4) and angelic peace of the final Sehr ruhig. It was
unflinching of confident Klughardt to end on such a peaceful
benediction. Each movement is based on a poem by Nikolaus
Lenau which Çedille print in English translation in the generous
booklet. Time for CPO or some other enterprising company
to delve amongst Klughardt’s symphonies and operas.
Despite standard books indicating origins in the Alsace, Loeffler was
actually born in Schöneberg just outside Berlin. After early
studies with Joseph Joachim and Ernest Guiraud he emigrated
to the USA where he became assistant concertmaster of the
Boston Symphony. The programme notes tell us that many of
his works were premiered there and that he gave the first
US performances of the violin concertos by Saint-Saëns, Bruch,
and Lalo. His Two Rhapsodies were based on poems by Maurice
Rollinat. The first, The Pool, is a moonlit fantasy
scene which, despite the eldritch poem, seems bathed in benevolent
light. The style is Gallic - early Fauré in song - rather
than Debussy or Ravel. It is rather like that of his American
contemporary Edward Burlinghame Hill. The Bagpipe is
soaked in romantic atmosphere taking the harsh skirling edge
off the instrument it is designed to evoke. This is the bagpipe
played in some warm pagan Elysium. It’s a magical piece – as
enchanting in its different way as the finale of the Klughardt.
It would be interesting to hear the orchestral version.
The English composer Felix White came from a Jewish
family originally under the name Weiss. An autodidact, he
joined the London Philharmonic in 1931 at the celesta and
piano. He was championed by Holbrooke and Barbirolli but
it was not enough to secure any fame in his lifetime or since.
He was fortunate in having The Nymph's Complaint for the
Death of her Fawn secure a Carnegie Award. Its inspiration
is Andrew Marvell’s poem of the same name which Çedille,
again, and with exemplary care, print in full. This is a
romantic and impressionistic mood-piece with a nuanced French
accent. It moves from a lapping misty evocation through to
a sanguine dancing episode and back – all in a grand but
effortless sweep - to the hopeless shores from which it began.
Perhaps we can now hope that other Carnegie-published pieces
will be revived. How about the orchestral miniatures by
Sam Hartley Braithwaite? I hope also that there will be other
pieces by White including the Poem for cello and piano
which he wrote for Barbirolli before the latter abandoned
the cello for the podium.
Yano’s Modinha -
a traditional melody in Brazil - was written as a gift for
the oboist on this recording. In Yano’s catalogue there are
also two solo oboe works for Klein: Seresta and Improviso).
The beautifully poised brevity that is Modinha reminds
me that I really must get to hear Marco Yan's Concerto for
Oboe and Orchestra. It’s on Çedille with Paul Freeman leading
the Czech National Symphony Orchestra.
Klein forsakes the oboe for the related Heckelphone in Hindemith’s
seven movement Trio Op. 47. The heckelphone (or bass
oboe) is a double-reed instrument produced by the Heckel
bassoon company in 1904. It appeared in Strauss’s Salome in
1905 and Bax used it in his First Symphony (1921). It fills
the gap between the bassoon and the cor anglais. Of all the
pieces here this feels the most ‘modern’, with salty dissonance
mixed into the DNA. The viola – which was Hindemith’s instrument – plays
a prominent role as instigator and provider of forward momentum.
This music lacks the yielding humanity of the other pieces
but in its place the music exerts a not inconsiderable fascination
The liner notes in English only are an exemplar of the art,
drawing on the not inconsiderable writing skills of the three
A tangy concert mix exploring the blessedly unfamiliar and,
in its grouping and choice of music, challenging the accepted
wisdom that is the mainstream.
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