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Henze: Violin Concertos No 1-3 / Janicke, Et Al


Release Date: 07/26/2005 
Label:  Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog #: 6011242   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Hans Werner Henze
Performer:  Torsten JanickeUlf Dirk Mädler
Conductor:  Christain Ehwald
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Magdeburg Philharmonie
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Hans Werner Henze’s three Violin Concertos span half a century and a range of musical styles. The 22-year-old’s first work for full orchestra sounds thoroughly conventional for its time (1948), a young man flexing his compositional muscles while absorbing music from Hindemith, Bartók, and Stravinsky. In addition, Henze dips his toes into 12-tone procedures, but so gingerly that one doesn’t notice. The piece displays an abundance of professionalism and skill, with singing lines that hint at the composer to come. A brief Vivacissimo turns the expected three movements into four. It is a lovely work that displays the solo instrument to good advantage, surrounding it with a few energetic bursts from the orchestra. In a 1968 DG recording Read more led by the composer, Wolfgang Schneiderhan and the Bavarian Radio Symphony gave a vibrant, slashing performance that captured every aspect of the piece; Torsten Janicke and Christian Ehwald offer a more graceful, soulful view of the music that is equally worth hearing.

The Second Violin Concerto (1971) is a strange beast. Its complete title is “Second Violin Concerto: for solo violinist, recorded tape, bass-baritone and 33 instruments and using Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s poem Hommage à Gödel.” Although its instrumentation alone suggests unconventionality, the most amazing aspect is that a poem and then a musical work should be based on the most basic, important contribution to philosophical logic, an area usually reserved for mathematicians. Having been there myself—in what now seems a former life—does not help with the music, but the poem is quite trivial: Kurt Gödel’s theorem seems to have intrigued Enzensberger just enough to trigger a few inane comments. The concerto has six sections, of which only the two fantasies gel into recognizable movements. Much of the music has a chamber-music character, with fragmented groups of gentle percussion, occasionally framed by ff orchestral shots. This was the period of Henze’s political music, but it is difficult to find a coherent message here, either musical or political. For what it’s worth, the words are spoken in German; in Henze’s own 1973 recording with violinist Brenton Langbein, they were in English.

Henze comes full circle with his Third Violin Concerto (1997), written in his early seventies; it is once again warm and lyrical, though less conventional than the First. Its three movements are dramatic rather than formal structures, based on portraits from Thomas Mann’s Doktor Faustus. Each character contributes both beauty and tragedy to the hero’s life, and one recognizes those elements in the music. The solo violin dominates the piece and plays many cadenzas; it represents beauty, while raucous outbursts from the large orchestra limn the tragic aspects. The Third Concerto is a very effective piece, perhaps the most satisfying of the three. This performance, apparently the disc premiere, is gorgeous, both for its violin-playing and as a dramatic creation. James H. North, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin no 1 by Hans Werner Henze
Performer:  Torsten Janicke (Violin)
Conductor:  Christain Ehwald
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Magdeburg Philharmonie
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; Germany 
2.
Concerto for Violin no 2 by Hans Werner Henze
Performer:  Ulf Dirk Mädler (Baritone), Torsten Janicke (Violin)
Conductor:  Christain Ehwald
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Magdeburg Philharmonie
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971; Germany 
3.
Concerto for Violin no 3 "Doktor Faustus" by Hans Werner Henze
Performer:  Torsten Janicke (Violin)
Conductor:  Christain Ehwald
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Magdeburg Philharmonie
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1996; Germany 

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