A profoundly spiritual composer, Sofia Gubaidulina has said that ‘True art for me is always religious, it will always involve collaborating with God.’ As the present disc demonstrates, it is therefore less than fruitful to try to divide her music into sacred and secular compositions. Jauchzt vor Gott, the opening work, is here being released on disc for the first time. The nine-minute piece for choir and organ sets three verses from Psalm 66, and opens with a long cappella section on the word jauchzt, ‘rejoice’. At this point, the organ enters with an extensive solo involving a massive dynamic intensification, after which choir and organ continue together in music which makes the concept of contrast a determining element.
Despite his advanced age and the chaos surrounding him, Richard Strauss remained highly productive well into the 1940s. As the Second World War was coming to an end in 1944-45, the eighty-year-old composer was working on his Oboe Concerto and Sonatina No. 2 for winds, as well as the Metamorphosen for strings. While the latter work was an explicit response to the destruction Strauss was witnessing, in the Concerto and the Sonatina the composer seemed to be turning his mind away from the events surrounding him. There is a pastoral quality to the oboe concerto, with a highly tuneful solo part and more than occasional touches of nostalgia for the 18th century. Similarly, Strauss headed the score of the sonatina with a dedication ‘to the spirit of the immortal Mozart at the end of a life full of thankfulness’.