ENJOTT SCHNEIDER (b.1950): Symphony No. 7 “Dark World”, Autumn Milk, The Expulsion, Sounds of Nature for Strings and Tape.
Catalogue Number: 11R086
Reference: WER 5112 2
Description: These impressive, broadly speaking neo-romantic works represent the versatile composer's varied responses to different aspects of nature, as interpreted in myth and legend, impressionism and image. The half-hour symphony consists of four large canvases depicting legends surrounding a colossal complex of natural caverns beneath the Untersberg massif on the Germany-Austria border. 'Canvas' isn't quite the correct term; there is more than a little of the cinematic about the vivid imagery of this unabashedly programmatic music, with its big dramatic gestures, subtle pre-recorded nature sounds and sense of episodic scene-setting, but the purely orchestral part of the music - its predominant feature - is clearly derived from the romantic tradition. There are echoes of Strauss, Wagner, Sibelius, Nielsen and plenty of others beside, in the work's thoroughly tonal idiom. The impressive opening movement depicts landscape, sunrise and myth; a darkly humorous scherzo, with rhythmic hammering, the subterranean sprites of legend; an eerie palindromic slow movement full of echoing effects, both orchestral and pre-recorded depicts the shadowy 'mirror world', and the warlike finale is the primitive pagan world of a terrifying earth-goddess. 'Sounds of Nature' pays tribute to Debussy and Celibidache, and consists of organic elaborations of recorded extracts of two of the conductor's recordings, seamlessly integrated into the piece (indeed, such is the sophistication of sound technology and Schneider's extension of Debussy's material that, were the orchestration not different it would be hard to tell where the one leaves off and the other begins). The two brief suites are based on music from films in which landscape plays an important rôle, and are predictably very tonal and 'picturesque', though covering some dramatic emotional range in what are effectively little pastoral tone-poems that highlight the composer's very high order of melodic writing. Tonkünstler Orchestra; Alondra de la Parra.