RICHARD STRAUSS: Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme Suite; Duett-Concertino for clarinet and bassoon; Sextet from Capriccio – Daniel Sepec, violin/Nicole Kern, clarinet/Higinio Arrue, bassoon/The German Chamber Philharmonic of Bremen/Paavo Järvi – PentaTone

by | Sep 30, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

RICHARD STRAUSS: Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme Suite;
Duett-Concertino for clarinet and bassoon; Sextet from Capriccio –
Daniel Sepec, violin/Nicole Kern, clarinet/Higinio Arrue, bassoon/The
German Chamber Philharmonic of Bremen/Paavo Järvi – PentaTone
multichannel SACD PTC 5186 060, 65:36 ****:

Järvi observes in his introduction to the note booklet for this disc
that we generally only think of Richard Strauss as the composer of
large tone poems and operas, but he had another side which is
underrepresented in the concert hall. That chamber music side is what
this disc – recorded in 2003 at Radio Bremen – has been devoted
to.  Moliere’s comedy The Bourgeois Gentleman originally had
incidental music by Lully.  When Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Strauss
staged their version the composer provided 17 incidental pieces, which
he later rewrote into the present nine-movement suite.  Most of
the movements are quite short except for the concluding ten-minute The
Dinner. Both the spirit of Lully’s 18th century France and the more
burlesque quality of Hofmannsthal’s adaptation come thru in this
delightful music. There’s even a quote from Das Rheingold in The
Dinner, and much in the other sections satirizes the ostentatious airs
put on by the “gentleman.”

The lovely Duett-Concertino pits two very contrasting woodwinds against
one another.  Though composed in l947 for the Italian-Swiss Radio
ensemble, the work seems completely untouched by either Schoenberg’s
effect on modern music or by the experiences of WWII.  Strauss had
spoken of “the end of German music” with the end of the war (and his
involvement with the Nazis).  These three movements seem like a
nostalgic farewell to a Vienna of old which could never be again. The
naturalness and “air” around the individual players is clearly 
enhanced by the 5.0 option vs. either of the stereo mixes.

– John Sunier 

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