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Schweitzer: Kammermusik / Engel , Ensemble Courage

Schweitzer / Engel
Release Date: 01/08/2013 
Label:  Wergo   Catalog #: 6753   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Benjamin Schweitzer
Conductor:  Titus Engel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Courage
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The chamber music works of Benjamin Schweitzer compiled on this CD mark a new phase in Schweitzer’s work, where he begins to search for new forms of expression. Created between 2005 and 2008, they also document the quest for something one could describe as “beauty”: the search for a plausible structure of sounds in a temporal dimension, as well as within a space which allows a certain kind of esthetic experience.

“Abgesang“, a concert version of a scene from his chamber opera “Dafne“, focuses on leave-taking, a lament on the inevitability of one's own fate. The condensation of musical material, which is used to explore this existential situation, is one of the principal characteristics of Schweitzer’s compositional
Read more vocabulary.

In the sextet “Anfänge/Netze (Malbork II)“ Schweitzer specifically makes use of the narrative strategy of the novel “Wenn ein Reisender in einer Winternacht“ by the Italian novelist Italo Calvino: The author seems to begin anew with each chapter, but at the same time forms the characters and narrative developments into a network of relationships. A comparable play with beginnings and continuations serves as a starting point for the composition.

In the piece “entschlackt [Piece in two Parts]“, characterized by rhythmic pulsation and dynamically varied sustaining tones, the tonal result is subordinated, according to the title, to the idea of a “purified” music making that is free of any superfluous material.

Schweitzer describes the tone of the work “achteinhalb” [“eight and a half”] for ensemble without percussion as “sometimes dry, harsh, and rough”. He achieves this quality of sound by exploiting the varied percussive sound possibilities of the instruments in the ensemble, without actually using any percussion instruments.

The basic sound of the wind trio "dull roots & spring rain" is characterized by the ”idea of an April landscape liberated from winter, with its mixture of bleakness and pale, yet blossoming, colours“. With an eye to interpretation, Schweitzer left aside components such as melodic elements and virtuoso figurations in favour of “extremely fine gradations of a few chosen sounds and textures”.

- Wergo Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Dafne-Fragment: Abgesang by Benjamin Schweitzer
Conductor:  Titus Engel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Courage
Notes: Version for two sopranos, violin, viola and drums. 
2.
Achteinhalb by Benjamin Schweitzer
Conductor:  Titus Engel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Courage
3.
Malbork II: Anfänge/Netze by Benjamin Schweitzer
Conductor:  Titus Engel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Courage
4.
Entschlackt by Benjamin Schweitzer
Conductor:  Titus Engel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Courage
5.
Dull roots and spring rain by Benjamin Schweitzer
Conductor:  Titus Engel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Courage
6.
Dafne-Fragment: Abgesang by Benjamin Schweitzer
Conductor:  Titus Engel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Courage
Notes: Version for solo soprano, clarinet, violin, viola and drums. 

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