ELLIOTT CARTER: Cello Concerto; UDO ZIMMERMANN: Lieder von einer Insel (Songs from an Island) – Jan Vogler, cello/ Bavarian Radio Symphony/ Kristjan Järvi – Neos

by | Jan 8, 2011 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

ELLIOTT CARTER: Cello Concerto; UDO ZIMMERMANN: Lieder von einer Insel (Songs from an Island) – Jan Vogler, cello/ Bavarian Radio Symphony/ Kristjan Järvi – Neos multichannel SACD 11014, 39:19 [Distr. by Naxos] ****:
Some of the notes to this release are esoteric and ridiculous, so I will avoid them. Suffice it to say that Elliott Carter caught a new wind late in life. His music acquitted a contextual delineation in terms of the basic building blocks of his art (chordal and linear movement) that makes much of this later art easier to apprehend. For example, in this concerto the instrumental groups are easy to perceive, as they make their commentary on each conversational strand of information the cello utters. This is still very modern music, but Carter over time has found a way to bring it, at least partway, down to earth. The 20 minutes are worth every bit of attention you want to give them, and this proves one of the more easily decipherable of his recent pieces.
Udo Zimmermann’s Songs from an Island take five separate texts as the basis for his concerto, centering on morning, night, and a sense of belonging. These textual images appear as cello commentary sometimes as melody that is clearly marked, other times not, but still leaves a flavoring of the unheard poetry by way of a remarkably communicative cantabile cello line with highly suggestive and sometimes very sparse accompaniment. Other times the orchestra takes the lead, expanding and even exploding the motives while the cello follows, but the interaction is always intense and primary, with Zimmermann using a wide variety of contrapuntal tricks to get his points across. This is a very entertaining (but not in a superficial manner) work of great insight and original design that will prove appealing to all but the most hardened of nothing-beyond baroque purists. Cellist Vogler plays beautifully. The live recording captures everything in fine detail with lots of presence and clarity, the surround just adding to the sonic excitement.
— Steven Ritter

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