WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Blumer: Woodwind Music Vol 3 / Bailey, Clinton, Et Al


Release Date: 01/15/2008 
Label:  Crystal   Catalog #: 757   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Theodor Blumer
Performer:  John BaileyMark Clinton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moran Woodwind Quintet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

On Order: Usually ships in 1 to 2 weeks.  
On sale! $16.98
CD:  $14.99
On Order



Notes and Editorial Reviews



BLUMER Serenade and Theme and Variations. 1 10 Waltzes, op. 56. From the Animal Kingdom. From the Plant World John Bailey (fl); Mark Clinton (pn); Moran Woodwind Qnt 1 CRYSTAL 757 (70:47)


This is the third disc devoted to the music of Theodore Blumer (1881–1964) that has seeped out of the Crystal vaults, and my first exposure to the man. Blumer was a very Read more successful musician in his day, having studied at the Dresden Conservatory and made his living in the same area as freelance composer, conductor, and pianist. He was principal conductor of the Dresden Radio and also the Middle German Radio Orchestra of Leipzig. He wrote many works in all genres, and seemed to specialize in creating pieces for his friends in the Dresden Staatskapelle. His wind output is substantial, including two sextets for wind quintet and piano and four quintets. The late John Story had the opportunity to review one of each type from Volume 2 in Fanfare (27:6), though I don’t know if the magazine covered the first volume in the series that contained most of the quintets.


Mr. Story liked the music, though rightfully pointed out that, despite the many comparisons to Richard Strauss, Blumer was no Strauss; his music is simpler, more lyrical in many ways, and the caloric content of his harmony much less. There were times when I was listening to this that I was reminded even of Poulenc or one of the many French wind-writers, so linear and concise are Blumer’s lines.


The Serenade and Theme and Variations is the only wind quintet piece on this album. It is his first chamber work in this medium, and as such is quite advanced in its style—lush, ingratiating, and cleverly construed, especially the addition of a “serenade” preceding a theme and variations, a very unusual formula. The rest of the program is all flute and piano all the time, and the works presented are not standard fare either, but instead a series of character pieces. Though you will not find a lot of drama from the six pieces that make up From the Animal Kingdom or From the Plant World , what you do get are some marvelous short descriptive essays that while not “impressionistic” are nonetheless “impressions.” “The Fox Hunt” from the animal side is very jaunty and quite redolent of the music you might supply to a visual of such an event, and “The Swan” does its best to imitate Saint-Saëns’s more famous melody with a soaring upper line over a fluid lower harmony. “Cactus” and “The Orchid” from the plant world may be more difficult to present due to lack of overt action among flowers, but Blumer’s scented harmonies hit just the right spot in the aural nostrils. Now, I can’t say that hearing all of this on a recital would be my flute pieces of choice, and the music does tend—intentionally—towards the salon. But it is excellent nonetheless (and hardly easy) and will make a nice change of pace when the mood so strikes.


The Ten Waltzes are Brahmsian in tone in that they approach that composer’s tendency to capture a different flavor in each piece; however, this is where the comparison ends, for there is no angst in these works at all, always present implicitly if not explicitly in almost all of Brahms’s piano works. These also were meant for home consumption, and blessed indeed is the home that has players equipped to perform these highly stylized and difficult movements. I think they are perhaps the most rewarding on the disc, and Blumer is a master at the flute-piano combination.


Who would have guessed that the prairie land of Nebraska could sport such fine flute-playing as that by John Bailey, associated (along with all the artists on this disc) with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Music? His sound is robust and fully formed, technique second to none, and he has an innate understanding of Blumer’s sometimes-strange sound world. Pianist Clinton seconds Bailey’s efforts, and all around this is a fine disc well worth sampling. The Crystal sound, sometimes a little harsh and close, seems perfect here, with a nice ambiance surrounding the instruments. You should try Blumer—you might not want everything he did, but a representation of his work is definitely called for in any well-chosen collection.


FANFARE: Steven E. Ritter
Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Theme and Variations for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon, Op. 34 by Theodor Blumer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moran Woodwind Quintet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Germany 
Length: 12 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Notes: Kimball Recital Hall, Univ of Nebraska (05/2005); Kimball Recital Hall, Univ of Nebraska (05/2006) 
2. Waltzes (10) for Flute and Piano, Op. 56 "Hausmusik" by Theodor Blumer
Performer:  John Bailey (Flute), Mark Clinton (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Germany 
Length: 17 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Notes: Kimball Recital Hall, Univ of Nebraska (05/2005); Kimball Recital Hall, Univ of Nebraska (05/2006) 
3. Aus der Tierwelt, Op. 57a by Theodor Blumer
Performer:  John Bailey (Flute), Mark Clinton (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Germany 
Length: 18 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Notes: Kimball Recital Hall, Univ of Nebraska (05/2005); Kimball Recital Hall, Univ of Nebraska (05/2006) 
4. Aus dem Pflanzenreich, Op. 57b by Theodor Blumer
Performer:  John Bailey (Flute), Mark Clinton (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Germany 
Length: 22 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: Kimball Recital Hall, Univ of Nebraska (05/2005); Kimball Recital Hall, Univ of Nebraska (05/2006) 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook