ENJOTT SCHNEIDER (b.1950): Mozart Ascending for Oboe and Orchestra, inner Worlds - Innenwelten for Orchestra, Yin & Yang for Sheng and Orchestra, Raptus. Die Freiheit des Beethoven for Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 11V061
Reference: WER 5125 2
Description: Schneider describes this disc as "almost a quintessence of my musical preferences". The two works based on other composers' music call to mind the compelling and inventive pieces on the first Schneider disc we offered (08Q074). Raptus is a portrait of Beethoven, contrasting his heroic, tempestuous, angry personality with the emerging despair and then spiritual transcendence of his late, lyrical works. The work makes ample use of a collage of quotations, set in a matrix of Schneider’s own reverent and sympathetic vision of the tormented genius. Mozart Ascending is a new edifice built around the unfinished Oboe Concerto, K 293, of which only the first movement is amenable to reconstruction. Schneider provides his own completion of this delightful piece as one movement of his four, with the interpolation of material from Don Giovanni in the recomposed development section, symbolising the theory that Mozart's relationship with his domineering father, represented by the Commendatore in the opera, is the key to his complex and sometimes chaotic personality, along with the tides of blind fate over which he had no control. Schneider brackets this movement with an ominous prelude, a bitter, haunted Adagio, and a sublime, transcendent finale in his own brand of neo-Romantic modernism. His longstanding relationship with Chinese music and musicians is represented here by the fifth work he has written for Wu Wei. The work consists of two linked, contrasting movements that nonetheless have many points in common. Essentially the work is a big-boned neo-Romantic concerto in a tonal idiom with pentatonic shading, with a strong sense of drive and narrative, idiomatically and expertly written for the Sheng, the traditional Chinese instrument that can sound, ad libitum, like an accordion, a giant harmonica, a reedy melodic wind instrument, and is capable of producing sounds that could easily be from a synthesizer or some esoteric percussion instrument. The first movement is tense and expectant, noble, formal and lyrical, with energetic interludes; the second is energetic and propulsive, with lyrical, reflective interludes. Inner Worlds is a suite of 'symphonic mood painting' orchestral interludes from Schneider's opera "Bahnwärter Thiel (“Signalman Thiel“ based on the early novella by Nobel laureate but historically controversial author Gerhart Hauptmann). The protagonist is a Wozzeck-like Everyman, unable to cope with the pressures of life and ultimately driven to insanity and murder by the death of his son. The novella is as much a character study of the inner monologues and responses to his surroundings of the character as it is anything else, and Schneider's rich, brooding late-Romantic score with expressionistic overtones and movement titles like 'Intermezzo of Unreality', 'Peace of Nature', Accident and Disaster, and 'Moonlit Night and Madness' illustrates the narrative with cinematic vividness. Juliana Koch (oboe). Wu Wei (sheng), Jena Philharmonic Orchestra; Simon Gaudenz.