Music by Danish composer Anders Koppel (b 1947) springs from disparate musical influences. He was trained as a clarinetist and pianist, and since his father Herman was a composer and pianist, Anders grew up in a classical environment. But he also spent years in an experimental rock band. His musical language is tonal, with pungent dissonance, and his harmonies take interesting turns. Of the three concertos offered here, the Sinfonia Concertante (2007) for violin, viola, clarinet, bassoon, and orchestra is the most absorbing.
Gerhard completed his unnumbered Symphony "Homanaje a Pedrell" twelve years before his Symphony No 1 (1952-3). Its genesis may have been a long drawn-out affair, the opening movement suggesting that is did not begin as a symphony. Perhaps as early as 1922, the year of Felipe Pedrell’s death, Gerhard began to contemplate this tribute to his revered teacher with whom he studied from 1915 to 1920. The tribute is based on ……
Gerhard was commissioned to write his Fourth Symphony in 1966 by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and it was first performed in New York on December of that year, conducted by William Steinberg. The following year the score was revised for its continental premiere. In terms of orchestral forces, Gerhard made the most of the commission and scored it for quadruple woodwind, six horns, four trumpets, four trombones, tuba, celesta, piano, two harps, four timpani, four percussion players and full string orchestra. The overall form of the symphony is extremely ….
Gerhard was one of last century's major composers, and his Third Symphony is one of the first and most successful works to incorporate electronic sounds into a live orchestral context. It's very difficult to describe exactly what this music sounds like–it's not tonal, certainly, but it's also very attractive as pure sound, and there are recurring ideas ("gestures" or "structures" may best describe them) that unify the musical argument. To that extent, the music is certainly "difficult," but it would be wrong to assume that it's difficulty is a function of some fiendish complexity designed to mystify the listener…….David Hurwitz @ Amazon.com
The conventional wisdom about Venetian Antonio Lotti, composer of the a cappella masterwork "Crucifixus," is that as a card-carrying member of the stil antico he represented a conservative viewpoint akin to that of his later contemporary Leonardo Leo – the fewer instruments the better, the closer to the polyphonic language of Palestrina the better. Moreover, if the "Crucifixus" was the only work of Lotti that someone became acquainted with, then he/she could not be blamed for believing this was so, although he/she might note the distinct Baroque harmonic coloring of the piece as being rather unlike that of Palestrina. Here is a challenge for you – CPO's Antonio Lotti: Vesper Psalms performed by the Sächsisches Vocalensemble and Batzdorfer Hofkapelle under Matthias Jung. It presents a selection of Lotti's surviving concerted sacred choral works, pieces that are scored with a small Baroque orchestra and easily comparable to contemporary music by Handel, Johann Sebastian Bach, and his direct competitor Antonio Vivaldi. Careful scrutiny of the poorly compiled worklist for Lotti in Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians reveals that some of these pieces are so listed, but with no mention whatsoever of the instrumental forces involved; they are identified as a cappella works just like the others. One wonders to the extent of Grove's oversight in this matter.
Franz Krommer (1759-1831) was a prolific and very good composer, whose music is now being resuscitated with great and deserved success. It was difficult to be a composer in Vienna at the same time as Beethoven and Schubert, and most of their contemporaries have not survived the pressure. But Krommer managed to retain his personality and originality, becoming the last official director of chamber music and court composer to the Habsburg court under the conservative Emperor Francis I. The first of the two symphonies was published in 1803. Among its many interesting features is a haunting litde trio in the form of a waltz. The second work is much later, with four horns and three trombones, and is in C minor, but ending in the major. In both works, Krommer's knowledge of, and predilection for, the wind instruments is notable. The two works were well worth recording, especially with such felicitous performances and bright, pleasing recorded sound.