MAGNAR ÅM (b.1952): The First Beauty for Wind Octet and Double Bass, JOHAN KVANDAL (1919-1999): Night Music for Wind Octet and Double Bass, Op. 57, GIDEON KLEIN (1919-1945): Divertimento for Wind Octet, ISANG YUN (1917-1995): Wind Octet.
Catalogue Number: 04R075
Label: LAWO Classics
Description: The discographic gains here are the Kvandal and the Åm. The former is a genial, neoclassical work in a tonal idiom, indebted to Mozart's wind serenades, to which it makes reference. The harmony has a hint of more modern pungency, but the work is largely traditional in form and content. Åm's music draws inspiration from spiritual matters, and 'the first beauty' has a consoling, meditative quality. The outer movements are a complex counterpoint of independent, tonal-sounding lines, sometimes suggesting a kind of freely atonal (though seldom very dissonant) chaos, at others coalescing into order and harmonic structure. The middle movement is a much more straightforwardly tonal dance. The Klein, written just before his arrest by the Nazis and hidden too well by his friends until 1990, includes references to Czech and Jewish folk music, as well as variations on a theme by Janáček, in four succinct movements clearly showing the imprint of developments in Vienna in the early 20th century. The Yun is a late work, very tonal, though with pitch-bending inflections to the harmony imparting an exotic feel to the work's serious, discursive narrative arc. Oslo Chamber Academy; David Friedemann Strunck.