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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


 

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Theodor BLUMER (1882-1964)
Sextet for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon and piano op. 45 (1921) [17:44]
Sextet for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon and piano Kammersinfonie (1941) [37:05]
Aura Ensemble: Kathrin Troester (fl); Barbara Bode (ob); Udo Grimm (cl); Uwe Tessmann (hn); Sergio Giordano (bn); Christof Keymer (piano)
rec. 5-8 Apr 2004, Funkhaus Berlin, Studio 4. DDD
ANTES EDITION BM 31.9215 [54:49]

 

 

Blumer was a Dresden-born German composer of conservative inclinations. A student of his father and then of Draeseke, he was active in Dresden, Leipzigand Berlin as pianist, composer and music director. He became music director and principal conductor of the Dresden radio orchestra in 1925 and left them in 1931 for a similar appointment in Leipzig. Remaining in Leipzig until 1942 he died in Berlin. His grave is to be found in Dresden near that of Weber. His music pleases without being striking.

Blumer set his face against serialism and dodecaphony. This much is clear from these two sextets nurtured in the mulch of high noon German romanticism. The Op. 45 Sextet comprises an original theme and seven variations, each short. This is Mozartian ‘harmoniemusik’ smoothly projected and expertly blended. Its episodes include a Schumann-like romance for piano solo, a playful Dvořákian capriccio, a warm and contented pastorale, a busily spinning Slav dance with the horn given its head from time to time as is also the case with the woodland calls of the romanze. After a diminutive and sturdily cheery Humoreske comes a Brahmsian hornpipe for the finale. The four movement Kammersinfonie is from the war years. It has a long allegro ma non troppo in which Schumann is in the ascendant with lovely contentedly romantic writing for the woodwind. After the elf-play of the scherzo comes an andante sostenuto of Brahmsian gravitas and autumnal hues. The Rondo finale is memorable for the chasseur writing for the horn and the radiant Dvořák-style bonhomie. Its smiling optimism lifts the whole work.

The liner-notes offer only a little in the way of background while Grove 5 is silent (a touch of post-War revenge ... who knows). However the trusty 1924 Dictionary of Modern Music and Musicians claims for him: Five O’Clock Tea (opera produced at Dresden in 1911); various orchestral works: Carnival Episode, symphonic poem Erlösung; The Legend of Thais the Dancer; piano quintet; violin sonata, songs and piano solos.

I hope that we will hear some of these other works although on this showing Blumer was more of a pleasing craftsman than anything more.

Rob Barnett

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