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Desire, Hope, World Affairs - Honegger, Casterede, Strauss

Honegger / Casterede / Segers / Lup / Sacher
Release Date: 08/23/2011 
Label:  Musicaphon   Catalog #: 56926   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Arthur HoneggerJacques CastérèdeRichard Strauss
Performer:  Guido SegersDany Bonvin
Conductor:  Roman Brogli-Sacher
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lübeck Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



HONEGGER Symphony No. 2. CASTÉRÈDE Concertino for Trumpet and Trombone. R. STRAUSS Also sprach Zarathustra Roman Brogli-Sacher, cond; Lübeck PO MUSICAPHON M56926 (73:46)


Arthur Honegger’s Second Symphony is one of the 20th century’s most enjoyable depictions of gloom. Composed in the war-encircled Switzerland of 1942, with a hopeful trumpet joining in the Read more proceedings only at the very end, this string symphony fascinates not so much in its expression of war’s tragedy but in the memorable quality of its composition. Whether we contemplate the first movement’s chugging Allegro theme, the halting astringent sighing of the second, or a shuddering otherworldly syncopated section in the finale designed to give anyone the creeps, we are in the presence of first-rate thematic material. Like Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta , the Honegger Second contains many subtle shades of light within the darkness it projects, and it has been the interpreter’s iffy challenge to reveal them.


Charles Munch’s 1950 monaural premiere recording with the Boston Symphony is still with us: stark, tragic, and extremely aggressive, with an almost Rite of Spring rhythmic intensity. Such is its power that one may scarcely miss a softer, more luminous side to the work. Munch believed in the symphony, and I was privileged to hear his last New York Philharmonic concert, which included it, in 1967. Subsequent recordings have always seemed a bit wrongheaded to me, however, tending toward lumbering elephantiasis. Both Karajan and Jansons lay on big, heavy brushstrokes and seem to encourage nearly Baroque terraced dynamics, while sounding slightly stuck in the mud. Ansermet comes across as merely feeble. We’ve become accustomed to hear the piece rather two-dimensionally, it seems.


Roman Brogli-Sacher’s kaleidoscopic account, then, is a happy find under the circumstances. Indeed, this is the finest performance I know and is the one I will turn to in the future. And he appears to be recording the full cycle. This conductor’s performance of the Honegger Fourth with the same forces already has been a revelation for luminosity and a seat-of-the-pants rhythmic sense of how it should go. And here it is the same. We find for the first time the kind of attention to the string interweavings that make for moving renditions of Verklarte Nacht or the Vaughan Williams Tallis Fantasia . This is played almost as chamber music, and doing so makes it come alive.


The rest of the program contained here is enjoyable and accomplished. The Jacques Castérède piece is one of those energetic Stravinskian divertimenti that seem slightly interchangeable with other such works by Ibert or Poulenc. The slow movement has a nice gentle feel to it, a bit like the Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto, and the trumpet and trombone soloists supply all the zest required.


Where the Strauss is concerned, though, we face the simple fact that the excellent Lübeck Philharmonic is an orchestra of merely 90. Zarathustra is well played, in a mainstream, musical and uncontroversial manner. The sound is good, if about eight decibels below the norm. Only missing is that last iota of sensual refulgence the extra string desks of Berlin and Vienna would bring to the music. In concert, the rendition here would have been fine and satisfying. But in the CD market, there are others. Here, the Honegger’s the thing. Honegger is a greater composer than you may suppose. If you didn’t think so before, you might after this performance.


FANFARE: Steven Kruger
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 2 for Trumpet and Strings by Arthur Honegger
Performer:  Guido Segers (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Roman Brogli-Sacher
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lübeck Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; France 
Venue:  Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Musik 
Length: 25 Minutes 29 Secs. 
2.
Concertino for Trumpet, Trombone, Orchestra, Piano and Percussion by Jacques Castérède
Performer:  Guido Segers (Trumpet), Dany Bonvin (Trombone)
Conductor:  Roman Brogli-Sacher
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1958; Germany 
Venue:  Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Musik 
Length: 12 Minutes 58 Secs. 
3.
Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Dany Bonvin (Trombone), Guido Segers (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Roman Brogli-Sacher
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895-1896; Germany 
Venue:  Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Musik 
Length: 35 Minutes 14 Secs. 

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