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July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Flute Concerto No. 1 in G major K313 [29:58]
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Trumpet Concerto in E flat major Hob.VIIe:1 [18:34]
Kathinka Pasveer (flute); Markus Stockhausen (trumpet)
Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Karlheinz Stockhausen
rec. no details given of date or place
ACANTA 233595 [48:39]

Experience Classicsonline

There is often a special interest in listening to a great composer conducting the music of another great composer. Britten, Boulez, Henze and Maderna all spring immediately to mind as examples of this but I never expected to hear Stockhausen (1928-2007) associated with any music other than his own. In fact his own music does feature here in cadenzas written especially for the soloists. As a matter of principle I dislike cadenzas whose length threatens the balance of the movement in which they are placed but here they are enthralling despite what would normally be considered wholly excessive length. They exploit the soloists’ techniques, but even more they explore the actual musical material of the movements in which they are placed, taking the various motifs apart, often very slowly to explore their constituent parts, in a style that is more questioning than showy. For the most part they stay within a generally classical idiom although by the end in both works flutter-tonguing and other advanced playing techniques are brought into play. The latter may be disconcerting at first but what a pleasure it is to have cadenzas with real musical interest. All too often any tension the performance has generated is dissipated at this point, but here it is, if anything, intensified.
They are by no means the only positive features here. The soloists are both agile and characterful players, well up to the demands of these works. In some ways these performances are surprisingly old-fashioned - in the treatment of grace notes, the relatively slow speeds, or the pulling up at the ends of movements and before the recapitulation in the first movements of both concertos, for example. What is really impressive here however, apart from the admirable soloists, is the transparency of texture in the orchestra. For once it is possible to hear each orchestral line clearly but without any coarse spotlighting or exaggeration. Not having heard Stockhausen as a conductor previously I do not know to what extent this was due to or characteristic of him in this role, but the result certainly makes for very enjoyable listening.
A very brief essay by the conductor in the booklet explains that he had been writing music for his son Markus since the latter was 16 years old, and had written several compositions for various sizes of flute for the Dutch flautist Kathinka Pasveer since 1983. The performances recorded here are fascinating both in themselves and for what they reveal about the conductor. They are a valuable addition to the catalogue which may surprise some listeners who are not normally admirers of the conductor’s own music.  

John Sheppard 

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