Christopher BOCHMANN (b 1950) Aleafonia Concertante No 3
(1983) 11'44" Em Homagem (1984) 9'51" Epitaph
(1991) 16'54" Misere Mei (1994) 11'54" Metaphors
Recorded Lisbon. 25 March
'99; 29 June '99; 10 Nov '99 Strauss Portugalsom ST 2246 DDD
Another Portuguese disc recorded with support from the Ministry of Culture
in Lisbon. This time the theme is current and future music, rather than taking
a retrospective view of an earlier generation. The subject is the work of
John Bochmann. He is currently Director and Head of Composition at the Escola
Superior de Musica, in Lisbon.
As English born, Christpher Bockmann's notes with the CD are in his own words
and have not undergone any translation vagaries. He explains in considerable
detail what his thinking was behind each of the five works - without these
explanations the listener would frankly have been at a loss to follow what
was going on.
The pieces on the disc are played in the order of composition. The Aleafonia
Concertante No 3 is described as developing from experiments in controlled
improvisation and makes use of the Concertino (Soloists in 5 groups) contrasting
with Ripieno (main group). The second work Em Homenagem" (In Homage)
has conventionally played extracts of Bach, Handel and Scarlatti which
progressively "dissolve" (the composer's word) and "dismember the tonal logic".
Epitaph has as dedicatee Mozart and a snatch of his D Minor Fantasy
quoted eight times - after each quotation the original moves closer to the
composers own music.
Misere Mei uses a spoken text (for female voice in English), with
part of the same text (in Latin) sung in fragments by four males voices with
a purely instrumental second section. The concluding Metaphors, for
full orchestra, is built upon guiding focal points with "interruptions" by
The recording is excellent, allowing the composer's intentions to be heard
clearly, and the Lisbon Youth Orchestra members seem perfectly competent
and happy in their roles. Mr. Bochmann has conducted the Orchestra over 340
times. Clearly his position with the students and the Orchestra allows him
to use the players in his musical workshop and experiment with his writing.
A fortunate man to be a composer in this position. While listening to the
recording near the beginning I noted down the words "a musical cul de sac".
At the end I see no reason to change my view. Music is more than just a
collection of notes and sounds. It needs to have some appeal to the emotions