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Schurmann: Violin Concerto, Etc / Charlier, Schurmann, Et Al

Release Date: 03/26/2002 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 9915   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gerard Schurmann
Performer:  Olivier Charlier
Conductor:  Gerard Schurmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Gerard Schurmann openly acknowledges basing his 1996 Concerto for Orchestra on Bartók's--deliberately emulating the latter's orchestration and following his five-movement layout with two large movements flanking three of intermezzo character. Schurmann's finale also is a rip-snorting, jet-propulsion extravaganza. Of course, Schurmann's modernist and tonally free musical language is a long way from Bartók's. Schurmann offers that the work has an "American" sound, and there are quite a few passages (especially those with xylophone) that have the rhythmic feel and sonority of William Schuman's late works.
The entire concerto is an exploration of the infinite varieties of orchestral timbres, and it frequently
Read more generates tremendous energy. As an orchestral showpiece, it's quite impressive, due in no small measure to the BBC Philharmonic's powerful, exacting performance under the composer's direction.

In his booklet note Schurmann contends that violin concertos work best when the solo part is to some degree based on tonality, though it would be disingenuous to describe his 1978 Violin Concerto as "tonal" (unless you mean in the same way Berg's Lulu is "tonal"). The first movement's three-note main theme is easily defined, but the violin's dissonant, angular ruminations soon take us far away from the opening's alluring atmosphere. Schurmann's solo writing challenges the protagonist without indulging in sound effects for their own sake. He also succeeds at making the violin clearly heard even during tutti passages (which are all brilliantly effective), a skill he learned from studying Bartók's Violin Concerto.

Schurmann's second movement is a set of seven extended variations on an original, and quite elusive theme (so elusive in fact that it's not always easy to tell what's being varied). If this work doesn't hold your attention the way the Concerto for Orchestra does it's probably due to the latter work's more approachable language--and perhaps its shorter movements. Olivier Charlier performs the solo part smartly, showing a remarkable ability to keep his playing focused amid the near-continuously shifting accompaniment. As conductor, Shurmann turns in another committed rendering of his own work, and Chandos' recording presents the music in a somewhat large yet detailed acoustic. This is definitely worth hearing, though its appeal primarily will be to the modern music fan.
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Concerto for Violin by Gerard Schurmann
Performer:  Olivier Charlier (Violin)
Conductor:  Gerard Schurmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1975-1978; England 
Concerto for Orchestra by Gerard Schurmann
Conductor:  Gerard Schurmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1992-1995; USA 

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