GÜNTER KOCHAN (1930-2009): Music for Alto Recorder, 25 String Instruments and Percussion, MARKUS ZAHNHAUSEN (b.1965): Recordare for Recorder and Orchestra, FABRICE BOLLON (b.1965): Your Voice Out of the Lamb for Recorders and Small Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 05R063
Label: OUR Recordings
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: Zahnhausen's concerto puns on the name of the instrument, but more importantly suggests 'remembrance' - of the composer's grandfather whom he never met as he was killed by Hitler's forces in Belarus. The work begins in vehement protest and contains militaristc episodes - clearly influenced by Shostakovich - but the overwhelming sentiment is one of lament. The final, ethereally beautiful section with its tolling bells and sombre, funereal tread is deeply moving. The melodies are inflected by some microtonal innovations - the recorder is the composer's instrument - but for the most part the music is predominantly tonal and eschews empty virtuosity in favor of an eloquently expressive commentary role for the soloist. Bollon's unusual and inventive piece draws on the inspiration of the surreal and ambitious 1974 concept album from which it derives its name by the progressive rock band Genesis. This is not a 'crossover' piece, and contains few obvious 'rock' elements, though the prominent synthesizer part emulates the Genesis sound, and there is a drum kit included in the ensemble. The recorders - a wide range of the family - are amplified and subjected to some subtle electronic effects, while retaining their acoustic character. Its derivation and the fact that the composer regards it as an explicitly anti-avant garde art music piece guarantee the piece's ready accessibility and appeal and its tonal language; the result is an enjoyable mixture of something Frank Zappa might have done in 'classical' mode, elements of big band and jazz, and minimalistic energy. The prolific East German Kochan, much less well known in the west than he should be, wrote in a Socialist-Realist acceptable style of dissonant, chromatic free tonality with an individual voice. The angular and agile melodic contours of these seven short movements, and their original and expert orchestration are very much his own, and the active, eloquent solo part is ideally balanced against an ensemble that plays much more than a merely accompanimental role. Michala Petri (recorders), Odense Symphony Orchestra; Christoph Poppen.