KLAUS CORNELL (b.1932): Triptychon for Orchestra with obbligato Cello (Basel Radio Symphony Orchestra; Klaus Cornell), Widerschein for String Orchestra (Zürich Chamber Soloists; Arthur-Heinz Lilienthal), The Vine for Cello and String Orchestra (Michael Flaksman [cello], Ensemble Incontro Heidelberg; Ivo Hentschel).
Catalogue Number: 01L010
Description: The Triptych is an impressive cycle of tone-poems referring to apocalyptic visions in the Book of Revelations. Based in tonality, in common with the composer's works written since his emigration to the U.S. in 1989, the piece largely occupies territory that would have been familiar to Shostakovich and his Soviet imitators, though Cornell undeniably has an individual voice which also owes something to German late-romanticism, Richard Strauss et al. Some unusual instrumentation (a flexatone and slide whistle) and instrumental effects are added for color; the Dies irae puts in a number of appearances because it tends to in pieces of this kind, and a solo cello narrates and comments on the action. Widerschein is from a few years earlier, and while more harmonically astringent remains largely tonal. It represents a cycle of the seasons, concentrating on the mysterious realm of twilight, with the second movement a vigorous, slightly obsessive ritual dance. As in the Triptych, a sense of religious solemnity is conveyed by the appearance of stately chorales at key points in the musical narrative. The Vine was first a song cycle to words by Hans Ritzmann; this version for cello was written soon after. The eloquent, pleading cello part - a true concertante solo - is placed in a richly tonal, neo-romantic setting, not without some striking and unexpected instrumental effects and textures, in five movements of contrasting character.