BERND ALOIS ZIMMERMANN (1918-1970): Symphony in One Movement (first version), Giostra Genovese - alte Tänze verschiedener Meister, Concerto for String Orchestra, Musique pour les soupers du roi ubu.
Catalogue Number: 10S062
Reference: WER 7340 2
Description: The really approachable end of the polyglot iconoclast's output. Music for King Ubu's Dinner is a laugh-out-loud collage of inappropriately spliced together quotations from - well, from just about everybody really, from sixteenth-century dances through Bach and the Baroque, via Beethoven and Wagner to Zimmermann's comtemporaries. The music, for an imaginary ballet, matches the absurd, surreal, rude humor of Jarry's satire on cruelty, power and corruption. The final section, combining The Ride of the Valkyries, the 1812 Overture and being pounded over the head with a mallet - that's the effect anyway - is about as horrifyingly grotesque, and funny, as music gets. The fantastically compressed Symphony, far from atonal, seems to do everything a full-blown romantic symphony might be expected to in quarter of an hour of terse drama. This is the original (1951) version; the composer later tightened up the structure and revised aspects of the very strange orchestration of this edition. The Concerto is Zimmermann's arrangement of his early (1944) String Trio, a tonal, rather neoclassically Hindemithian work that gains from the greater weight of the orchestra, especially in the rhythmically insistent finale, while retaining the chamber-music character of the original in the lovely central aria. The ballet suite Giostre Genovese is gleefully anachronistic. Each movement consists of music by a Renaissance, Tudor or Baroque composer - Susato, Gibbons, Byrd, Fischer - which the orchestra then proceeds rudely to join in with, interrupt or talk over in what can't even be described as a respectable modern style. Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra; Peter Hirsch.