WILLEM JETHS (b.1959): Scale "Le Tombeau de Mahler" (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; Ed Spanjaard), String Quartet No. 3 "Intus trepidare" (Doelen Quartet), Meme for 2 Violas and Orchestra (Susanne van Els, Nobuko Imai [violas], Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic; Otto Tausk), Monument to a Universal Marriage for Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Clarinet and String Quartet (Mijke Sekhuis [soprano], Karin Strobos [mezzo], Lars Wouters van den Oudenweijer [clarinet], Doelen Quartet).
Catalogue Number: 06N092
Reference: KTC 1437
Description: Scale (which appears to be the same recording as on the Concertgebouw compilation (02N071) explicitly explores the theme of death in Mahler's music, with overt references to a number of Mahlerian motifs, especially from the 10th Symphony, in the course of this tragic, emotionally intense and ultimately resigned piece. The most extended work here is Meme, effectively a preparatory study for Jeths' opera about the last empress of China, in which the composer explores the unusual timbral soundscapes central to the atmosphere and characterizations within the opera. The work abounds in odd, esoteric instrumental effects, not emulating Chinese music so much as suggesting it within a western context which includes suggestions of rich tonal harmony. The Quartet, like Scale freely acknowledges Jeths' indebtedness to the last flowering of high Romanticism, with affinities with Berg and late Mahler, in a work of great psychological tension. The gentle, introverted Monument is cast in similar musical terms, deliberately very accessible as a celebration of the universal right to marriage; it sets a 3300-year-old Egyptian love poem (sung in English; text included).