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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


AVAILABILITY

Bella Musica Edition
distribution@bellamusica.de
Bella Musica Edition (Antes Edition)
Eisenbahnstr.30
D-77815 BUHL

Telephone: +49 (0)7223-98550
Telefax: +49 (0)7223-985566

Jan RÄÄTS (b.1932)
Symphony No. 8 Op. 74 (1989) [20.36]
Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945)

Concerto for Orchestra (1943) [40.54]
Magdeburgisches Philharmonie/Christian Ehwald
rec. live 21-22 March 2002, Großen Haus des Theaters der Landeshauptstadt. DDD
ANTES EDITION BM-CD 31.9183 [61.35]

Distributors

USA:
QUALITON IMPORTS ltd:
24-02 40th Ave,
Long Island, N.Y. 11101

Great Britain:
KINGDOM RECORDS LTD:
Elstree Business Centre
Elstree Way, Borhamwood
GB-Herts WD6 1RX

Antes' distribution beyond Germany has been patchy ... and that is me being flattering. You are unlikely to see this disc in your local HMV, Tower or Borders. I’ll be pleased to be proved wrong. The comparative inaccessibility of these discs is a pity because alongside Rääts' most recent symphony the Magdeburg orchestra confer on us a vividly characterised and thoughtful Concerto for Orchestra. Listen for example to the eerie chamber-style streams of the Bartók at the start of the Elegia (tr. 3). In the Introduzione Ehwald demonstrates taut control and creates a palpable sense of inimical fate. The brass faultlessly colour the great address to the populace at the start of the Finale and the Presto rushes like a scalded cat ... as the saying goes; quite breathtaking. This is a good performance with estimable results. It tells us encouraging things about German provincial orchestras.

Rääts, one of Estonia's leading composers, has already had several Antes discs dedicated to his music. This one continues the thread. His Eighth, in addition to the standard orchestral specification, uses plenty of ‘ironmongery’: marimba and xylophone included. Holger Schmitt-Hallenberg points out that Rääts leans towards minimalism (closer to Philip Glass than Steve Reich). The composer leavens the mix with quick development and imaginative orchestration. The first movement of three is thunderously hammered and bass-predominant. The short middle movement has sharply rhythmic repetitive activity but there is some liquidly smiling woodwind and marimba work to brighten the landscape. Some of this nods towards Shostakovich. The finale synthesises the character of the other two movements with pounding energy meeting yielding melodies of memorable substance. Rääts here is as provocative as ever but in the warp and weft of his writing never loses contact with the wider audience.

Rob Barnett



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