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Musik in Zürich 1500-1900
Huldrych ZWINGLI (1484-1531)
1. “Herr, nun heb den wagen selb” (1519) [1:51]
Ludwig SENFL (c1486-1542/3)
2. “Allein die Huld” [1:07]
Paul HOFHAIMER (1459-1537)
3. “Nach Willen dein” [1:32]
4. Scaramella [0:41]
Johann Caspar BACHOFEN (1695-1755)
5. “Lobe Zion” [1:57]
6. “Welt, ich achte deiner nicht” [0:36]
7. “Das alte Jahre” [1:37] (1743)
Johannes SCHMIDLIN (1722-1772)
8. Five extracts from “Hymnus auf die Allmacht, Weissheit und Güte Gottes” (1761) [8:04]
Johann Heinrich EGLI (1742-1810) & Johann Jakob WALDER (1750-1817)
9. “Was sorgest du?” [2:46]
10. “Nicht ist, Jusus, deines Gleichen” [1:07] (1775)
Philipp Christoph KAYSER (1755-1823) Romance for tenor and piano (1777) [1:25],
11. “Ein Schauspiel für Götter” for tenor and piano (1777) [3:58]
12. Sonata No 1 in D for piano, violin and two horns: I. Allegro assai (c1780) [4:08]
Anton LISTE (1772-1832)
13. Sonata for Piano and Bassoon Op 3: II. Adagio con espressione (1811) [9:21]
14. Neujahrslied [2:22]
Johann Carl ESCHMANN (1826-1882)
15. Neujahrslied (piano solo) (1851) [7:37]
16. String Quartet in D minor: I. Adagio - allegro con fuoco [9:52]
17. “ Zur Weinlese” Op 6/6 for horn and piano (c1852) [4:32]
Alexander MÜLLER (1808-1863)
18. Tempo di Mazurka for piano solo (1852) [4:29]
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
19. Extract from “Siegfrieds Tod” (1853) [4:06]
Wilhelm BAUMGARTNER (1820-1867)
“Wenn die Sonne lieblich schiene” Op 4/5 [1:02]
(1-7) Choir of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Geoffrey Webber (conductor and organ) (8) Purcell Singers, Robert Howard (organ), Fred Jacobs (theorbo); (9,10) Katie Towers; Abigail Boreham (sopranos), Geoffrey Webber (organ); (11,12) Steve Davislim (tenor), William Fong (piano), Roy Howat (piano), Oliver Lewis (violin), Dave Lee; Chris Davies (horns); (13,14) William Waterhouse (bassoon), William Fong (piano), Garrie Davislim (tenor), James Rutherford (bass); (15-17) Jeremy Filsell (piano), Ceruti Quartet, Dave Lee (horn), Roy Howat (piano); (18) Kathron Sturrock (piano); (19) Yvonne Howard (soprano), Richard Edgar-Wilson (tenor), Kathron Sturrock (piano); (20) Richard Edgar-Wilson (tenor), Kathron Sturrock (piano)
Texts and translations included.
GUILD GMCD7312 [74:19]

What a dull sounding title and what a pity if it were to put potential purchasers off buying this disc! It has been produced to accompany an exhibition being held this summer in the Zentralbibliothek Zürich of musical manuscripts, prints and archives. It also acts as a sampler for a series of recordings (51 at present) consisting mainly of compositions created or printed in Zürich since 1500. Most of these recordings have been released by Guild, and all the selections here are from that company’s releases. The big surprise is that despite the lack of big names among the composers – apart from Wagner – the music is almost always interesting and often more than that.
The disc starts at the reformation. The reformers of Zürich quickly did away not only with choral and priestly chanting but also with the use of the organ. It is therefore a surprise that the first three tracks should comprise three verses of a song by Zwingli, one of the leading reformers. He was however also a talented lutenist, flautist and composer, whose music is heard in later arrangements for choral or organ use. These are followed by three very short organ movements collected by Clemens Hör in about 1535, and by three brief sacred songs by Bachofen. All of these are of modest interest and are well performed and recorded, but it is with the next group that real musical interest starts. These are extracts from a cantata by Johannes Schmidlin based on James Thomson’s “The Seasons”. They are varied, economical in scoring and length, and wholly irresistible. If the disc from which they are extracted is all as good as this it would be very well worth having (Guild GMCD 7255).
After two short, functional, but not very interesting sacred songs by Egli and Walder the remainder of the disc is devoted to later, secular, music. Philipp Christoph Kayser, a friend of Goethe, moved to Zürich in 1775. Two of his settings of the poet are included; both pleasant if not especially memorable. These are followed by what is in effect a piano solo with accompaniment for violin and two horns. It is a well crafted and polite piece intended, as the notes explain, “for the musical edification within a private upper middle-class environment”. The slow movement of a Bassoon Sonata by Liste treats the players much more as equal partners, and is indeed of considerably greater musical interest. It would be a potentially very useful addition to the limited bassoon and piano repertoire, and is very well played here by William Waterhouse and William Fong. A short vocal duet by Liste is also worth hearing.
The final section of the disc relates to Richard Wagner’s circle of friends in Zürich during his temporary exile there. Eschmann is represented by three instrumental pieces, all attractive if slightly overlong. These are a piano piece dedicated to Clara Schumann, part of an early string quartet, and a short but very winning piece for horn and piano. The final three pieces are all connected with Fanny Hünerwadel, who studied music in Zürich, financed by a generous uncle who was a banker. She requested items from musicians for her musical album which started with an entertaining Mazurka by Alexander Müller, a pupil of Hummel. A year later she persuaded Wagner, in exile in the city at that time, to add a short piece. This was no less than part of the draft for what he had intended as part of the prelude to “Siegfrieds Tod”. It comprises a chunk of the duet for Brünnhilde and Siegfried which eventually became the Prologue to Götterdämmerung. With piano accompaniment and sung as a chamber duet it has curiosity value more than anything else, especially as it simply stops very much after the manner of a “bleeding chunk”. It is followed by a brief and pleasant song by Baumgartner which nonetheless is inevitably something of an anti-climax .
The enjoyment of this disc is greatly heightened by the excellent booklet which contains lengthy and helpful notes and well laid out text and translations, as well as by the uniformly excellent performances and recordings. I can’t imagine a more enticing sampler for the exhibition or for the various existing recordings. It may have a dull sounding title and a shortage of big names amongst composers and performers but I have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone in search of interesting curiosities.
John Sheppard


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