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Gubaidulina: Chamber Music With Double Bass / Martin Heinze

Subaidulina / Heinze / Gneiting
Release Date: 11/22/2011 
Label:  Neos   Catalog #: 11106/8  
Composer:  Sofia Gubaidulina
Performer:  Martin HeinzeElsie BedleemJan SchlichteHeike Gneiting,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Guitar Ensemble Quasi Fantasia
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

GUBAIDULINA 5 Etudes. Pantomime. 8 Etudes. Bass Sonata. In Croce. Quasi Hoquetus. Silenzio. Ein Engel. Galgenlieder à 3. Pentimento Martin Heinze (db); KlangArt Berlin and friends NEOS 11106-08 (3 CDs: 187:16)

The music of Sofia Gubaidulina (b.1931) is nothing if not endlessly fascinating. Pupil of Shostakovich, contemporary of the likes of Shchedrin, her music is ever rewarding of study. This issue of Read more chamber music with double bass is in celebration of her 80th birthday. The works are presented chronologically over the course of three discs. The crystal-like Five Etudes of 1965 for harp, double bass, and percussion with which this collection begins acts as perfect exemplar: The music seems driven by an unstoppable internal energy. Who could resist the easy jazz of the second piece, I wonder? The interpretation of elements of improvisation here is inspired by the original performers (in this case Vyacheslav Artyomov). The slow, slithering walking bass of the final movement is most effective, as is the scoring throughout. More etudes are to be found on the first disc: the Eight Etudes of 1974/2009. Martin Heinze is a remarkable player in that he can build up and maintain tension without sagging for a second, so these etudes become much more than that. Take the second ( legato-staccato ), a study in textures. The legato passages are actually chordal, magnificently delivered here. These later etudes last 23 minutes, yet feel much less. Notable, perhaps, are the ghostly fifth ( sul ponticello ) and the senza arco final etude, with its otherworldly pizzicato slides. The short Pantomime (1966, for bass and piano) is remarkably fragile. Helke Gneiting is a responsive, imaginative pianist (more companion that accompanist). Finally for this disc, the Sonata for Bass and Piano of 1975, a work of impeccable darkness. In some way it seems to containg the essence of Gubaidulina, its subterranean world embryonic in its hold of promise.

The use of a bayan (a Russian button accordion) in conjunction with bass for In Croce (1979 for cello and organ/2009 in this version) is remarkably effective, the glassiness of the bayan adding a glistening complement to the resonance of the bass. The bayan’s stunning use of glissandi brings us close at times to the world of Stockhausen’s electronics; at other times, there is a childlike wonder about its near-organ sounds. Quasi Hoquetus (1984/2008) was originally for bassoon (and is available in that form on Chandos’s excellent disc of Gubaidulina works, 9717). Here it is for viola, double-bass and piano, and Heinze and Gneiting are joined by the viola of Ulrich Knörzer. Gubaidulina plays with the idea of the hocket intriguingly (its ancient links fit in with her preoccupations of balance and proportions, I expect), but there is much more than that to the piece. The piano invokes Bach chorales on occasion; elsewhere there is the most eloquent dueting between viola and bass.

The piece Silenzio is heard here in a version for bayan, violin, and bass (the violinist is Lisa Marie Landgraf; the bayan player, as for In Croce, is Elsbeth Moser). As befits the title, throughout the work’s four movements the music’s very existence seems to hang by a thread.

A pity the poem by Else Lasker-Schüler that forms the text for Ein Engel (1994), the work that concludes the second disc, is not included in the documentation for this issue. Vanessa Barkowski is the excellent mezzo who gives out the text at the beginning and who mesmerizes throughout her contribution. Her voice is strong over its entire range, which it needs to be for Gubaidulina’s writing. Initially, the bass enters with only the odd snatched comment before it grows to a life of its own. Here, it seems the perfect complement to the mezzo voice.

The Galgenlieder (Gallows Songs, 15 pieces for mezzo, percussion, and double bass of 1996 on poems by Christian Morgenstern) is a remarkable cycle. The mezzo is again Vanessa Barkowski. Some of the scoring is of the uttermost delicacy, yet there is space for drama, too. Barkowski’s virtuosity is magical: try the gymnastics of the fifth song, “Das Spiel I.” The duration of the cycle is 47:20, yet somehow it flies by. The longest songs stand centrally (the rhythmically exciting “Der Tanz,” at 7:01) and at the end, with the Schoebnergian (think Pierrot Lunaire ) “Das Mondschaf” at 7:02.

Finally to end this monumental and vitally mportant collection, Pentimento of 2007 for the intriguing combination of double bass and three guitars (an arrangement of Ravvedimento for cello and four guitars of the same year). The guitars can give a remarkably romantic feel to the music (for the first time in the set); the lone voice of the bass ruminates against them. Fascinating.

FANFARE: Colin Clarke
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Works on This Recording

Etudes (5) for Harp, Double Bass and Percussion by Sofia Gubaidulina
Performer:  Martin Heinze (Double Bass), Elsie Bedleem (Harp), Jan Schlichte (Percussion)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965 
Pantomime by Sofia Gubaidulina
Performer:  Martin Heinze (Double Bass), Heike Gneiting (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966 
Etudes (8) for Double Bass by Sofia Gubaidulina
Performer:  Martin Heinze (Double Bass)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966 
Sonata for Double Bass and Piano by Sofia Gubaidulina
Performer:  Martin Heinze (Double Bass), Heike Gneiting (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1975; USSR 
In croce by Sofia Gubaidulina
Performer:  Martin Heinze (Double Bass), Elsbeth Moser (Bayan)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1979; USSR 
Quasi hoquetus by Sofia Gubaidulina
Performer:  Martin Heinze (Double Bass), Heike Gneiting (Piano), Ulrich Knörzer (Viola)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984; USSR 
Pieces (5) for Accordion, Violin and Cello "Silenzio" by Sofia Gubaidulina
Performer:  Martin Heinze (Double Bass), Elsbeth Moser (Bayan), Lisa Marie Landgraf (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991; USSR 
Ein Engel... by Sofia Gubaidulina
Performer:  Martin Heinze (Double Bass), Vanessa Barkowski (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1994 
Galganlieder by Sofia Gubaidulina
Performer:  Vanessa Barkowski (Mezzo Soprano), Martin Heinze (Double Bass), Jan Schlichte (Percussion)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1996 
Pentimento by Sofia Gubaidulina
Performer:  Martin Heinze (Double Bass)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Guitar Ensemble Quasi Fantasia

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