KURT SCHWERTSIK (b.1935): Nachtmusiken, Op. 104, Herr K entdeckt Amerika, Op. 101, Baumgesänge, Op. 65.

Catalogue Number: 10N070

Label: Chandos

Reference: 10687

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: Kind of like an older, more intellectual, European version of Michael Daugherty, Schwertsik has a lot of fun with his music which is full of irony and humor and which is extremely approachable and enjoyable to listen to. Nachtmusiken was a 2010 commission by the orchestra here: a five-movement set of nocturnes which is a mix of passion, sorrow and melancholy. Janacek appears to Schwertsik in a dream in the first movement; a slighly drunk Ländler recalls Mahler; a profound elegy for the architect (Publications Director at Boosey & Hawkes) of the composer's career is followed by an angry, Shostakovichian scherzo and a finale that opens with a ghostly Mahlerian recollection and gains speed. The mixtures of popular music, jazz and late Romantic composers fuels all of Schwertsik's music since the late 1960s, including the other two works here, the 15-minute 2008 suite from music for a ballet on Franz Kafka's unfinished novel "Amerika" which also brings elements of American minimalism and polytonality; and the 1992 "Tree Songs" - crashing wind noises, shrill birdsong, minimalism, a convulsive final movement but some lovely elegiac moments in the third movement as well - easy to enjoy but hard to characterize. BBC Philharmonic; HK Gruber.


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