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20th Century Classics - Henze


Release Date: 02/24/2009 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 37601   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Hans Werner Henze
Performer:  Julius DrakeIan Bostridge
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic OrchestraCity of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Emotional eloquence ... invaluable.

EMI's Twentieth Century Classics line (see below) continues to yield otherwise elusive and rewarding material in return for a small outlay.

Henze towers over European music in a way that is warmer and less intimidating than Stockhausen. While of German birth his music is imbued with a Mediterranean emotionalism. In years gone by you may have experimented with his six symphonies on a two CD set from DG. I reviewed the Accord recording of his Tenth Symphony five or years ago. Now two symphonies issued in the intervening years are gathered in this slim-line set.
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The Barcarola is symphonic in mien. It was written in memoriam Paul Dessau, a DDR composer. A long and reflective piece, it has its moments of angry outburst rather like Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem. It at times operates like a Bergian Isle of the Dead although it is richly allusive and its moods are in constant laval flux. The piece ends in a ethereally spectral lull.

The Seventh Symphony is in four fantastic movements. These at times gaze into the chasm. The language is not really dissonant and the lyrical line is always in evidence. There is much that is starrily Bergian - try the magical Ruhig Bewegt (II) - yet not 'difficult'. The nineteenth century German poet Hölderlin is a presence in the last two of the four movements. The third movement seemingly portrays the poet's confinement to an asylum and becomes increasingly hectic, whooping, ringing and groaning. Malcolm Macdonald in his note gets the essentials across in quintessential concentration. He tells us that the finale is evocative of a cold world from which mankind has disappeared. This cauterised planetary desolation is strangely comforting with none of Pettersson's alienation. Instead we get a consolatory singing and a far from self-effacing magnificence of nature. Most impressive. It was a generous and sensible measure to conflate the Henze segment of a Bostridge song anthology with Metzmacher's Henze 9. This conductor recorded a complete Hartmann initially in a series of individual imaginatively programmed mixed orchestral discs and later a complete EMI box of just the symphonies.

Henze's Ninth Symphony is in seven movements and the vocal element is carried by a choir without soloists. Sadly we are not given the sung text in the booklet - really the only substantial criticism of this admirable set. The texts are by Hans-Ulrich Treichel based on a novel 'The Seventh Cross' by Anna Seghers. The texts, rich in allusion, recount episodes in a fugitive's flight from the Nazis. The music surges, rides high on a certain wonderfully eerie ecstasy ( Die platane spricht (IV)), evokes cataclysm and horror. It makes for a richly stocked emotional palette. Percussion is used in profuse variety especially in the rattle, scrape and bell-haunted Bericht der Befolger (III). The single largest movement of the seven is Nachts in Dom (VI) at 17:07. In the finale a slow-shifting peace pervades in music somewhere between Delius and Zemlinsky. The last few pages have the choir evoking a golden glow.

The three Auden Songs are English language settings. The music is lyrical, impulsive, pierrot-ghoulish and emotional yet without abandon. Bostridge is at his unaffected finest.

The sound throughout is very clear and carries Henze's music to our ears with eloquence and every appearance of fidelity.

-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 7 by Hans Werner Henze
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1982; Germany 
2.
Symphony no 9 by Hans Werner Henze
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1995-1997 
3.
Barcarola per grande orchestra "In memoriam Paul Dessau" by Hans Werner Henze
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1979; Germany 
4.
Auden Songs (3) by Hans Werner Henze
Performer:  Julius Drake (Piano), Ian Bostridge (Tenor)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1983 

Sound Samples

Barcarola
Symphony No. 7: I. Tanz - Lebhaft und beseelt
Symphony No. 7: II. Ruhig bewegt
Symphony No. 7: III. Unablässig in Bewegung
Symphony No. 7: IV. Ruhig, verhalten
Sinfonie Nr.9 für gem. Chor und Orchester: I. Die Flucht
Sinfonie Nr.9 für gem. Chor und Orchester: II. Bei Den Toten
Sinfonie Nr.9 für gem. Chor und Orchester: III. Bericht Der Verfolger
Sinfonie Nr.9 für gem. Chor und Orchester: IV. Die Platane Spricht
Sinfonie Nr.9 für gem. Chor und Orchester: V. Der Sturz
Sinfonie Nr.9 für gem. Chor und Orchester: VI. Nachts Im Dom
Sinfonie Nr.9 für gem. Chor und Orchester: VII. Die Rettung
Three Auden Songs: I. In Memoriam L.K.A. 1950-1952
Three Auden Songs: II. Rimbaud
Three Auden Songs: III. Lay Your Sleeping Head, My Love

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