Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

Heinz MARTI Portrait (orchestral & chamber works)
Grammont CTS-P 22-2

Many (most?) countries have national organisations (equivalent to our BMIC & NMC) to promote their music and its recordings, and those of smaller countries which are so liable to be overlooked in UK concert programming are well worth investigating. A recent visit to Switzerland to review Zurich Opera for S&H has prompted a fresh look at some of the Grammont Portrait Series. These are all well recorded and informatively presented, with biographical notes, analyses of the music and illustrations.

Heinz Marti (b.1934) is represented by two orchestral and three chamber works dating from 1972-85 Mask for three orchestral groups is closely modelled on Mahler'sWo die schönen Trompeten song, with a 'masked' version of the trumpet call after each strophe. Full orchestra is avoided, reflecting the song text's melancholy. By contrast, Growing Threat is a vast crescendo of intensity to suggest modern civilisation's relentless destruction of its environment. Correspondance (... à la sourdine) for violin & piano has identical melodic lines for both instruments, but proceeding in opposite directions; a large scale retrograde inversion, perceptible by ear alone only intuitively. Echoes of Distress for piano & harmonium evokes the suffering of a gifted painter whose most creative period was after committal to an asylum in 1923, where he spent his last 20 years; the unworldly music, with its weird sound spectrum, questions our behaviour towards people excluded from 'normal society'. Response for string trio in seven sections considers its source material from various perspectives.

Marti's idiom tends to be reserved, but with emotional intensity not far below the surface. Serious, exploratory music that repays repeated hearing. A recent work by his composer son Valentin was successfully introduced to Zurich Opera House at an Opera Nova concert attended by Seen&Heard.

Peter Grahame Woolf

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