One of the most grown-up review sites around

Apollo's Fire

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Brahms Symphony 4 Dvorak Symphony 9
Peter Aronsky (piano) Les Délices du Piano"
IL Carnevale di Venezia Clarinet with orchestra

Sinfonie Concertanti for two flutes and orchestra

TUDOR RECORDS

TROUBADISC

A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin

NORTHERN FLOWERS

World Premiere
Weinberg’s Concertino (cello)!

AVIE

Irish-Appalachian Celebration

REFERENCE RECORDINGS

Nick Barnard review
Michael Cookson review



an inspirational performance


An indispensable acquisition


The finest we have had in years


bewitching sound


Simply amazing


A splendid addition


One of the most enjoyable


quite superb!


utterly essential


A wonderful introduction


An outstanding CD


cheer-raising


One of the finest versions

RECORDING OF THE MONTH

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Viktor KALABIS (1923-2006)
Cello Sonata, Op.29 (1968) [24:11]
Clarinet Sonata, Op.30 (1969) [23:10]
Violin Sonata, Op.58 (1982) [18:14]
Tomáš Jamník (cello)
Anna Paulová (clarinet)
Jan Fišer (violin)
Ivo Kahánek (piano)
rec. 2016-17, Martinů Hall of the Music and Dance Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts, Prague
SUPRAPHON SU4210-2 [65:51]

Both Viktor Kalabis’ Cello and Clarinet sonatas were written in the shadow of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Both are marked by it and display a brooding, sometimes almost obsessive quality wholly understandable given Kalabis’ own feelings of helplessness and protest.

The Cello Sonata was finished the month after the August 1968 invasion and reveals a strenuous intensity occasionally leavened by refined, elegant paragraphs; moments of reprieve amidst the shadows. The slow movement most intensely bears the obsessive elements noted above, a product of rhythmic insistence not unlike Prokofiev’s, allied to an intensely introspective tolling motif. As with his slightly later Clarinet sonata the finale is longer than the first two movements put together. Here one finds a long, expressive lament contextualised into taut driving rhythms. The sonata ends with unresolved tension, quietly.

One thing these two sonatas share is that the movement titles are precisely the same - Allegro moderato, Andante, and finally Allegro molto e drammatico. And in the 1969 Clarinet sonata a compelling feature is the busyness of the piano writing and the way the clarinet circles around itself effortfully, never seeming to resolve. Are there, in the midst of the complex and agitated dissonances of the central movement, deliberate echoes of Chopin’s Funeral March? This sombre and passionate music shows no let-up in the finale – that, like the Cello sonata, gradually slows to a listless quietude.

It seems clear to me that these sonatas should be seen as a diptych, expressing in various ways, and through different voices, the unremitting despair Kalabis continued to feel.

The Violin Sonata is a later work, dating from 1982. It’s gritty and vibrant, flecked with taut abrupt phraseology, its slow movement again powerfully introspective but admitting some purposeful, indeed powerhouse piano chording. There are plenty of contrasts in the finale, the longest movement but not – this time – twice as long as the first two combined. The contrasts are couched in terms of variations of tempo, but also motifs and the play of voicings.

The booklet note writer Petr Veber calls the Violin Sonata ‘elliptical and coherent’. Quite how elliptical is something for the listener to decide. If Kalabis’ music is termed Neo-Romantic, as it is by some commentators, then its most notable features are Kalabis’s individual sense of form and his exploration of the ambiguities of expressive breadth in his music. It is seldom an easy listen, but it is always rewarding.

The three interpreters are some of the Czech Republic’s most brilliant young instrumentalists. Anchoring things is pianist Ivo Kahánek who has already recorded Kalabis’ solo piano music for Supraphon. Anna Paulová is a most eloquent clarinet soloist and both Tomáš Jamník and Jan Fišer prove masterful in their control of the string sonatas’ rhetoric. With first class sonics this is an indispensable acquisition for admirers of the composer’s music.

Jonathan Woolf


 

 




Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger