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Music Of Heinrich Schweizer / Malat, Zushan, Et Al

Release Date: 04/03/2007 
Label:  Gall (Formerly Gallo)   Catalog #: 1196   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Heinrich Schweizer
Performer:  Bruno ReichMatthew KofmehlMichiko TsudaJohn Van Buskirk
Conductor:  Jiri MalátVeeraphan VawklangDaniel SchweizerBian Zushan,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pilsen Radio Symphony OrchestraBangkok Symphony OrchestraBangkok Choir,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

SCHWEIZER Alpstein Suite. 1 Symphonic Bagatels. 2 Love in Spring (arr. Schweizer). 3 Intermezzo. 4 Alphorn Musik. 5 Trio. 6 East West Symphony (highlights). 7 Swiss Panorama. Read more class="SUPER12">8 Historical Symphonic Suite. 9 Symphonic Splendour. 10 Five Days in Avignon. 11 Variations on 3 Provencial Themes 12 Jiri Malat, cond; 1,12 RSO Pilsen; 1,12 Veeraphan Vawklang, cond; 2,3 Bangkok SO & Ch; 2,3 Bruno Reich (org); 4 Matthias Kofmehl (alphorn); 5 Daniel Schweizer, cond; 5 Zürich SO; 5 Singapore Tr; 6 Bian Zushan, cond; 7 Zürich SO; 7 China Broadcasting O; 7 Jozsef Molnar (alphorn); 8 Gorge Rotter, cond; 8 Südwesfälische P; 8 Michiko Tsuda (pn); 9 Moshé Atzmon, cond; 9 London PO & Ch; 9 Bart Folse, cond; Singapore SO; 10 John van Buskirk (pn); 11 Karel Friesl (pn) 12 GALLO 1196 (72:23)

In my callow youth I would have dismissed this music on the grounds that it sounded too good. I was, at that point in my life, a proudly virulent Hovhaness basher. After all, how good could his stuff be, given its euphony and often exotic (non Eurocentric) touches which registered beautifully on first hearing? I was then wedded to the proposition that music had to be knotty and problematical to be of any worth at all. Give me Milton Babbitt, Charles Wourinen, or Elliott Carter—or give me death. Now, many musical encounters along our huge musicological space-time continuum later, I’m amazed (to crib a Mark Twain line) at how much Hovhaness has learned over the intervening years.

Swiss-born Heinrich Schweizer has a most appropriate name. He was born in 1943 and received most of his musical training in his native country. In the course of his studies he became proficient on the violin, clarinet, bassoon, and piano—hands-on skills that are felicitously reflected in his highly accessible and skillfully wrought music. In an attempt to pigeonhole what I hear here, I will call it light music, but light music with dimensions that often transcend that unfairly maligned genre. A perusal of the titles in the headnote will leave the impression that Schweizer is a devotee of folk musics (my use of the unofficial plural is intentional). He indeed is, not only of his native Switzerland as manifested in the Alpstein Suite, Alphorn Musik , and Swiss Panorama , but of far more distant places and mind sets. This is most spectacularly realized in the all-too-brief excerpts from his East West Symphony , which combines the sounds of a traditional Chinese ensemble with those of a standard Western symphony orchestra. Things are appropriately pentatonic and the timbres of the Eastern instruments add refreshing dollops of color, but what stands out in this effort is the synergy Schweizer finds between two traditionally far removed and seemingly irreconcilable cultures. His Trio for flute, bassoon, and piano employs thematic material from the East Bengali-born and Indian-nurtured guru Sri Chinmoy, and in Symphonic Splendour Schweizer writes variations on songs in the four officially spoken languages of Singapore. In the excerpted Historical Symphony , he creates homages to Palestrina and Monteverdi, Praetorius, Handel, Bach, Vivaldi, Stamitz, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, and Debussy—all in about 13 minutes. The liner notes tell me that the full work ends with an homage to Penderecki. Too bad it wasn’t included here. In this piece, alas, I hear more Schweizer than the composers he is memorializing, but it is deftly constructed and handsomely orchestrated.

And now, after making the case that this is “light music,” I must admit that Five Days in Avignon , and Variations on 3 Provencial Themes are comparatively knotty and complex, once again demonstrating the breadth of Schweizer’s musical languages. The intent of the producers of this disc, as stated in the liner notes, was to give a cross section of Schweizer’s work by way of promotion. I suspect that they chose only the most accessible of his pieces, and that there is more to this composer than found here. In any event, I’d like to hear more.

Despite the panoply of performers and recording locations, the standards of execution and sound are uniformly high.

In sum, Schweizer realizes that we are all citizens of the world. Given the evidence here, both his estimable skills and his heart are in the right place.

FANFARE: William Zagorski
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Works on This Recording

Alpstein Suite by Heinrich Schweizer
Conductor:  Jiri Malát
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pilsen Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Switzerland 
Love in Spring by Heinrich Schweizer
Conductor:  Veeraphan Vawklang
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bangkok Symphony Orchestra,  Bangkok Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Switzerland 
Trio for Flute, Bassoon and Piano "After Themes of Sri Chinmoy" by Heinrich Schweizer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Singapore Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Intermezzo by Heinrich Schweizer
Performer:  Bruno Reich (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Alphorn Music by Heinrich Schweizer
Performer:  Matthew Kofmehl (Hunting Horn)
Conductor:  Daniel Schweizer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Switzerland 
East West Symphony: Excerpt(s) by Heinrich Schweizer
Conductor:  Bian Zushan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Symphony Orchestra,  China Broadcasting Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1992 
Historical Symphony Suite by Heinrich Schweizer
Performer:  Michiko Tsuda (Piano)
Conductor:  Moshe Atzmón
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1975 
Symphonic Poem Splendor on 4 Singaporean Themes by Heinrich Schweizer
Conductor:  Bart Folse
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Singapore Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Five Days in Avignon by Heinrich Schweizer
Performer:  John Van Buskirk (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Variations on 3 Provincial Themes on Piano by Heinrich Schweizer
Performer:  John Van Buskirk (Piano)
Conductor:  Jiri Malát
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pilsen Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 

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