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Musikalisches Opfer - Igor Markevitch: Orchestral Works, Vol. 8

Markevitch / Baudet / Ahpo / Lyndon-gee
Release Date: 02/22/2011 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572158  
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Jeroen ReulingRemy BaudetHans Van LoenenDirk Luijmes
Conductor:  Christopher Lyndon-Gee
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 52 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"This is the eighth and final volume in Naxos's Complete Orchestral Works of Igor Markevitch. It is in fact a re-release of Marco Polo 8.225120, which was labelled, somewhat confusingly, volume 7. The Naxos series began in 2008 with a volume of newly 'discovered', relatively early works, after which all other discs have been re-releases of the earlier Marco Polo series - meaning that Naxos volume 2 was the same as Marco Polo Volume 1, Naxos volume 3 the same as Marco Polo volume 2, and so on.

This final release has already been
Read more reviewed , with plenty of historical and technical description, so the review below focuses primarily on the music.

To reassure those fearing otherwise, Markevitch's Musical Offering is not a Stokowski-style orchestration/lushification exercise, although the opening Ricercar does start the work off in that direction. But Markevitch proves to be more sensitive.

Whether or not there is any real musical point to his reworking of Bach is a moot point - on balance probably not. Nevertheless, Markevitch was fond of this work, conducting it himself on several occasions - something he did not do with his original music! And there is no doubting the intelligence of Markevitch's reshuffling and tweaking of Bach's ten original Canons into a kind of symphonic arch, now entitled 'Theme and Variations' - nor the stroke of brilliance provided by the appearance of first the oboe, then the cor anglais and bassoon in 'Variations' V and VI.

The trio Sonata section is less successful - not in itself, but in the context of an otherwise orchestral arrangement, the chamber forces of the Sonata - almost pure Bach - seem out of place. In his notes Lyndon-Gee argues that the participation of orchestral strings in the Sonata - to amplify the solo violin - "cleverly integrates" this section into the composition as a whole. But the strings are so discreet, the harpsichord so obviously Baroque, that the Sonata sounds more like a separate piece. Still a very attractive one, though.

The orchestra returns for the final Ricercar, which Markevitch labels Fuga. Using mainly strings, he makes of this beautiful, enigmatic fugue a rich, dark, but ultimately uplifting finale. Overall, it is Bach's, not Markevitch's, genius that illuminates this Musical Offering - but probably that was what Markevitch expected and wanted.

The liner-notes, which include an extended essay on Markevitch and his music, a detailed chronology of Markevitch's life, and, for CD notes, a thorough discussion of Bach's original work and what Markevitch does with it, have all been updated and expanded from the Marco Polo original. It is a pity that many people will still require a magnifying glass to read the tiny, dense print!

Lyndon-Gee and the Arnhem Philharmonic, with the soloists drawn from its ranks, give another sterling performance. The sound quality is not the greatest. It is clear, certainly, and communicates the intentions of Markevitch's stereophonic arrangement of instrumental forces on stage. However, resonance and background rumble are more than evident in the quieter sections of the opening Ricercar and the Theme and Variations. The Sonata is far better recorded - presumably the microphones are closer to the performers and therefore pick up much less background noise."

Byzantion, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Musikalisches Opfer, BWV 1079 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Jeroen Reuling (Cello), Remy Baudet (Violin), Hans Van Loenen (Flute),
Dirk Luijmes (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Christopher Lyndon-Gee
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1747; Leipzig, Germany 
Notes: Arranged: Igor Markevitch (1949-50)  

Sound Samples

Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (orch. I. Markevitch): Musical Offering: Ricercare a 3 voci (orch. I. Markevitch)
Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (orch. I. Markevitch): Tema e variazioni: Tema
Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (orch. I. Markevitch): Tema e variazioni: Variation 1: Canon 1 a 2 cancrizans
Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (orch. I. Markevitch): Tema e variazioni: Variation 2: Canon Perpetuus super Thema Regium
Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (orch. I. Markevitch): Tema e variazioni: Variation 3: Canon 3 a 2 per Motum Contrarium
Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (orch. I. Markevitch): Tema e variazioni: Variation 4: Canon 2 in unisono
Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (orch. I. Markevitch): Tema e variazioni: Variation 5: Per Motum Contrarium (Quaerendo invenietis)
Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (orch. I. Markevitch): Tema e variazioni: Variation 6: Per Motum Contrarium: Inversus Var. Vae
Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (orch. I. Markevitch): Tema e variazioni: Variation 7: Fuga Canonica in Epidiapente
Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (orch. I. Markevitch): Tema e variazioni: Variation 8: Per Augmentationem contrario motu
Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (orch. I. Markevitch): Tema e variazioni: Variation 9: Canon 5. a 2 per Tonos
Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (orch. I. Markevitch): Tema e variazioni: Variation 10: Canon Perpetuus
Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (orch. I. Markevitch): Sonata: I. Largo
Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (orch. I. Markevitch): Sonata: II. Allegro (with orchestral interpolations)
Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (orch. I. Markevitch): Sonata: III. Andante
Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (orch. I. Markevitch): Sonata: IV. Allegro giusto ('Canon Concertante', i.e. Canon Perpetuus)
Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (orch. I. Markevitch): Sonata: V. Tempo di Giga
Musical Offering, BWV 1079 (orch. I. Markevitch): Musical Offering: Fuga (Ricercar) a 6 voci (orch. I. Markevitch)

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