ENJOTT SCHNEIDER (b.1950): Phoenix for Oboe, Percussion and Strings, Dark Journey for Oboe and Strings (based on fragments by Hans Rott), Neidhart’s Nightmare for Piano and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 12S011
Reference: WER 5115 2
Description: The double concerto Phœnix was intended as a journey from darkness to light, the rebirth of beauty from the ashes. However it became an in memoriam piece during its composition, which casts a pall of grief over the whole work. It is less an updated neo-romantic work than some of Schneider's scores, with some colorful gestures that suggest his work as a film composer, though it is very tonal overall. The first movement is dark, questing, the oboe depicting the mythical bird; the second an agitatated 'perpetual rondo' in which the percussion assumes a central role in the work's descent into a slow, tragic self-immolation. The finale, rather than the hymn to beauty originally envisioned by the composer, became a sombre eulogy permeated with consoling peace. Dark Journey is based on fragments of music by Hans Rott, who died insane at an early age. Schneider orchestrated Rott's song cycle Balde ruhest du auch! (08Q005) with interludes suggesting the composer of gorgeous romantic works' disintegrating psyche, and he does much the same thing here, the (very Mahlerian) Rott fragments worked into a lovely miniature oboe concerto with flitting dæmons hovering around its periphery. Neidhardt's Nightmare refers to the mediæval minnesinger's poetry of earthy village life, mocking courtly mores, and to a scene from Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks, with its theme of conflict between art and declining bourgeois fortunes. The work is a piano concerto in which rough-hewn, strident modernism and mediæval peasant dance somehow coexist within a neo-romantic framework. Christoph Hartmann (oboe), Johannes Fischer 9percussion), Oliver Triendl (piano), Tonkünstler Orchestra; Kevin John Edusei.