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Henze: Royal Winter Music / Tanenbaum

Release Date: 08/09/2005 
Label:  Stradivarius   Catalog #: 33670   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Hans Werner Henze
Performer:  David Tanenbaum
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 56 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

HENZE Royal Winter Music ? David Tanenbaum (gtr) ? STRADIVARIUS STR 33670 (56:01)

Royal Winter Music consists of two sonatas for solo guitar. Each is made up of movements based upon individual characters in Shakespeare's plays, in two cases (Romeo and Juliet or Touchstone, Audrey, and William) more than one. The First Sonata was written in 1975?1976, in close collaboration with Julian Bream, who had jokingly asked Henze for a sonata on the scale of Beethoven's Read more 'Hammerklavier'.Before recording the First Sonata, Bream asked Henze for a second to fill the LP, but he then rejected the 1979 Second Sonata. The two sonatas can be considered a single work of nine such movements, book-ended by mad persons: Gloucester and Mad Lady Macbeth. The work?s overall title stems from Richard of Gloucester?s opening ?Now is the winter of our discontent.?

David Tanenbaum first played this music for Henze in 1985, and recorded the nine movements in 1989 on an Audiofon CD ( Fanfare 13:4). In that review, I dumped on the music unmercifully but promised ?a monster apology to all concerned? if I should ever find anything in it. Well, at least a modest retraction is due: I have presumably changed, having heard a great deal more Henze in the intervening 16 years, and Tanenbaum certainly has. This performance bears little semblance to the earlier one. To begin with, every movement is played more slowly, the nine now taking about one fifth more time than they did. The interpretation is much more serious, to the extent that one quickly forgets this is guitar music. I still find that Tanenbaum's first recording presents little of substance, whereas this time he digs deeply. My sense is that the music too has changed, but there is no hint of that in the performer's extensive notes (Italian, English, and French) to this disc, which often quote the composer. One can now equate Shakespeare?s characters with their music?in particular, the madness of both Gloucester and Lady Macbeth. One virtue of this recording is that it sent me scurrying back to the plays to reexamine several of the portrayed roles. An intriguing oddity is that Sir Andrew Aguecheeck, the foppish, foolish knight from Twelfth Night who opens the Second Sonata, comes on with great dignity; Henze is quoted as having much sympathy for Sir Andrew: a tenderness about him, and a sadness like that emanating from a wilting meadow-saffron.?

The earlier disc displayed a virtuoso performance; the emphasis is now on the music and on the characters it portrays. The old Audiofon disc may please those whose interest lies primarily with the instrument; for those who are concerned with music per se , however, this new recording is a great improvement.

FANFARE: James H. North
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Works on This Recording

Royal Winter Music 1 by Hans Werner Henze
Performer:  David Tanenbaum (Guitar)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1976; Montepulciano, Italy 
Venue:  Chapel of Villa Bussa, Pino Torinese, It 
Length: 33 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Notes: Chapel of Villa Bussa, Pino Torinese, Italy (09/21/2003 - 09/24/2003)
Composition written: Montepulciano, Italy (1975 - 1976). 
Royal Winter Music 2 by Hans Werner Henze
Performer:  David Tanenbaum (Guitar)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1979; Germany 
Venue:  Chapel of Villa Bussa, Pino Torinese, It 
Length: 22 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Notes: Chapel of Villa Bussa, Pino Torinese, Italy (09/21/2003 - 09/24/2003) 

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