In the jazz world, Vienna is about as far from New York's Lincoln Center as you can get. It follows that Mathias Rüegg's Vienna Art Orchestra has about as much in common with Wynton Marsalis' Lincoln Center big band as a Sacher torte has with a Hostess Cup Cake; while they share some ingredients, the Austrian product satisfies on a more profound level. By the turn of the century, the Lincoln Center paradigm defined the jazz big band as a finished concept – locked into the past, serving mostly as a repertory ensemble.
Michaela Schuster, the wonderful singer, explores the beauty of the romantic Lied literature on this programme wiuth sensitivity and enthusiasm, together with the empathetic Markus Sclemmer. This recording was made in the dreamlike atmosphere of the Eppan Lied Summer Festival, in which it is not difficult to sense the inspiration from this location and atmosphere.
In both volume and artistic distinction there is little doubt that Reger was the greatest German composer for the organ since Bach. He relished Lutheran chorales and employed them freely, a sense of grandeur and gravity permeating his music for the instrument. The Suite No. 1 in E minor was completed in 1895, and admired by Brahms. Its four movements offer a compendium of Reger’s genius for both complexity and transparency. His later Suite No. 2 in G minor, cast in seven taut movements, similarly employs contrast, imitation and variety whilst ending in a glorious and triumphant Fugue.
"…As usual with this conductor, transparency of texture is paramount, often revealing details that go unnoticed in others’ readings, and his subtle plasticity of phrasing keeps the music fluid and moving forward. Thus in a work like the Mozart Variations, one may prefer the more straightforward conducting of Eduard van Beinum in the Guild set, but one will find much more to hear in the Segerstam performance…" ~Fanfare
A second disc from new chamber choir Consortium, who were acclaimed for their disc of Brahms’s secular partsongs. Although Reger’s music has partly recovered from its deeply unfashionable reputation, much of this prolific composer’s work still remains underperformed. This disc offers a chance to redress the balance, both by bringing to light an aspect of Reger’s output that has been relatively neglected, and by demonstrating that the important influences on him were not just musical but literary.
Alban Gerhardt’s profound musicality and charisma have made him one of the most sought-after cellists of his generation. His ebullient personality is present in all his performances; he is nevertheless passionately committed to the intentions of the composer, and his recordings are always the product of an intense personal journey into every aspect of the music. Gerhardt’s espousal of Reger’s cello sonatas and suites is thus greatly welcomed. Pianist Markus Becker has released twelve discs of Reger’s keyboard music and is an ideal interpreter.