ENJOTT SCHNEIDER (b.1950): At the Edge of Time (Reflections about Mozart's Requiem K 626), Ein ewig Rätsel will ich bleiben - Ein Ludwig II Epitaph for Cor anglais, Strings and Bassoon, Ein fest Burg ist unser Gott, Florestan & Eusebius (Robert Schumann Gedenken).

Catalogue Number: 08Q074

Label: Wergo

Reference: WER 5110 2

Format: CD

Price: $24.98

Description: These 'Metamorphoses', after Mozart, Wagner, Mendelssohn and Schumann go considerably beyond transcription into the realm of extended fantasias on previously existing music - Liszt would have got the idea immediately, and Busoni when he elaborated Bach in the Fantasia Contrappuntistica. This kind of total re-examination of another composer's material and style in an entirely new piece is not very much practiced nowadays, and almost never this well; Ronald Stevenson's Faust Triptych (after Busoni) or Le Festin d'Alkan are among the rare instances that come to mind. Kagel's and Lang's reworkings of earlier music fragment the originals more than Schneider, and present them in a modernist or avant-garde matrix, whereas Schneider's pieces are basically compelling neo-romantic orchestral essays in their own right, and would be entirely successful as such even if one were completely unaware of the stylistic and thematic borrowings on which they are based. The Mozart, Schumann and Wagner pieces use literal quotations, which are then elaborated, but with harmonies, discords, even (occasional) clusters and instrumental effects that the original composers would never have used - though in Ein ewig Ratsel it is sometimes hard to detect where Wagner leaves off and Schneider starts - while Ein Feste Burg builds a powerful tone poem out of the chorale on which Mendelssohn's Reformation symphony is based. There is something very satisfying about these 'composer portraits' in another composer's style, and the music has all the emotional drama and tension of the Romantic era that one could wish for. Christoph Hartmann (cor anglais), Lower Austrian Tonkünstler Orchestra; Xincao Li.

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