"The Kodaly Suite has probably never been heard as stirred up as in this highly intense, profound and from the first minute incessantly captivating interpretation. Wispelwey also achieves an extraordinary depth of feeling in Bach’s Fifth Suite, rooted in sensitive phrasing and the highest intensity of expression. The Passacaglia from Benjamin Britten’s 3rd Sonata concludes the program with plaintive gestures, not without the mourning father expressing almost tender thoughts of his dead son even in lighter moments, but which can also lead to inner revolt. And so ends a CD that will probably leave no one untouched."Pizzicato, 16-10-2023
“This Scordatura Album is the second In Memoriam album in honour of my son Dorian. It features two illustrious masterpieces written for cello in alternative, darker tunings: the Bach Suite with the top string lowered by a whole tone and the Kodály Sonata with the two bottom strings lowered by a semitone. Both pieces are fierce, resilient and profound and although painted in dark colours, they comfort us with their show of sheer musical power and luminous inventiveness.”
Benjamin Britten is one most important British composers from the second half of the twentieth century. Remarkably, he focused on opera, a dying genre, at least in its current form. Britten's contributions however, among which Peter Grimes, The Rape of Lucretia, Gloriana, The Turn of the Screw, and Death in Venice, managed to remain core repertoire for opera companies to this day. Many of these productions included a role for his artistic partner and life companion Peter Pears. Britten also wrote a number of lieder for this tenor, among which his Serenade for tenor, horn and string orchestra. Yet, Britten excelled in many more genres. He wasn't even 20 years old when he composed his brilliant Phantasy for hobo quartet and his friendship with the legendary cellist Rostropovich led to a Cello sonata, three Suites for cello solo and a Symphony for Cello and orchestra in the 1960s.
Britten never became Master of the Queen's Music, yet he surely had feeling for public sentiments. For example, as a pacifist, he taught his people about world peace through his War Requiem from 1962. Britten was an excellent interpreter of his own work, just like Bartók and Stravinsky. Many of his recordings have been matched, but never exceeded.
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and hundreds of cantatas. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.
Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest in and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.
Zoltán Kodály was a Hungarian composer, born in 1905. If you would read Kodály's biography, you could only do so with increasing astonishment. Not only did he reach the honarable age of 84, throughout his whole life he remained astoundingly prolific - and with great success. Moreover, besides his work as a composer, Kodály was active as a conductor, (ethno-)musicologist, pedagogue, linguist, and philosopher. And in each of these areas, he had a pioneering role, always with exceptional passion and dedication. To name but one example: together with his friend Belá Bartók he worked on a ten volume reference guide to Hungarian music, which appeared from 1951 with each volume spanning more than a thousand pages.
Yet, Kodály gained acclaim for his compositions as well, with his Psalmus hungaricus (1923) en his opera Háry János (1926) as the pinnacles of his musical career. The core of his body of work consists of vocal music, in particular works for choir, but his instrumental music is just as impressive. His master piece Laudes Organi, written one year before his death, truly proves that Kodály's creative energy stayed with him to the bitter end.
The Kodaly Suite has probably never been heard as stirred up as in this highly intense, profound and from the first minute incessantly captivating interpretation. Wispelwey also achieves an extraordinary depth of feeling in Bach’s Fifth Suite, rooted in sensitive phrasing and the highest intensity of expression.
The Passacaglia from Benjamin Britten’s 3rd Sonata concludes the program with plaintive gestures, not without the mourning father expressing almost tender thoughts of his dead son even in lighter moments, but which can also lead to inner revolt. And so ends a CD that will probably leave no one untouched.
In summary, a sublimely composed and performed musical tribute that also movingly brings musical memories of the prodigal son to life.
Opus Klassiek, 01-10-2023