Excellent job on Martin, Herr Teufel. Unfortunately, both Musiques Suisses and Troubadisc are obscure labels to be reached, but I will see what I can do to get this otherwise "marginal" work. However, I find Martin a quite interesting composer, at least in some of his works.
Zimmerman's Requiem for a Young Poet is well spotted too, despite it's completely out of my territory of my interests (electronique equipments, etc.). There is a quite good recording on the marginal French label Cybele with Bernhard Kontarsky as well. Howells Requiem, Hymnus Paradisi and Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem are all correct and useful additions.
Since 20th century seems to be so interesting for this thread, please also note Dusapin's Umbrae Mortis (The shadow of the dead, 1997) and Dona eis (1998), both brilliantly performed by Accentus, on Naive. Another French profound enough contribution to the medium.
Mark - Not trying to steer the Requiem line into different waters, but couldn't resist responding. Glad you like Martin - a composer of real importance, tough and substantial as well as fastidious (think the Passacaglia). The following are unlikely to come as news to you, and I'm getting dubious about listing recordings, which are not that hard to find. But if they do: the opera based on Shakespeare's "Tempest", "Der Sturm," which Hyperion released last year (not ideal singing or recording, but far better than nothing) and the very late "Poèmes de la Mort," for three male voices and electric guitars (!) on Cantate. This doesn't seem a bad place/time to recall Fischer-Dieskau's recording of the "Jedermann" Monologues. There is much, much else, but the big Rilke setting of the "Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke" is in every way an essential piece, and seems to bring out the best in all who sing it. Listen to the opening (unaccompanied) phrase and see if it will let you go.
After the vast "pluralist" Requiem, some of Zimmermann's last pieces work with considerably reduced means; "Stille und Umkehr" is music on the edge of silence, a few figures "layered" over quiet snare-drum rhythms. You hear the piece more often than you might expect, partly I think because it's less than 10 min. long so fits easily into the token gap for a modern work in more orthodox concerts! The "Ecclesiastical Action" is on a larger scale and still theatrical - if you have some Zimmermann, you've probably got it in the ECM recording, though there was one on Stradivarius.
Back to the thread, though late Z. is pretty death-haunted; the Dusapin is a good catch, and the third piece on that disc, "Granum sinapis," is also a memorial work. As I said, once you leave the Latin and are simply thinking memorially you can end up anywhere. Boulez's "Rituel" might belong among the instrumental "Requiems," but before I shut up I'll just note Grisey's "Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil," on Kairos. Words fail, and I mean a compliment to the piece.
Anecdotally, but can't resist - between a family, limited funds and weird health I don't travel much these days, but a few years ago we managed to catch the U.S. premiere of Dusapin's Faustus at the Spoleto (S.C.) festival. We went to an interview with Dusapin, who is delightful, witty, and a composer I much admire. When he was talking about earlier Faustuses, the name of Christopher Marlowe, completely understandably, came out as "Philip Marlowe" - room here for an intriguing adaptation?
Hi Der Singende Teufel. I've just tracked down one of the Martin Requiem recordings you mentioned and ordered it online. It was the only one I could see on both Amazon US and here in the UK, so it's gotta be that one: MGB - Klaus Knall.
Having just been through my vinyl collection, the only two Zimmerman discs I have are both on DG:one is the Kontarskys playing both Perspektiven and Monologe on the same recording as the Ligeti 3 pieces for two pianos. The other album - DG Avant garde - contains Presence - ballet blanc en cinq scenes for violin, cello and piano - Gawriloff, Palm and Aloys Kontarsky, and Intercomunicazione (both works from the last ten years of Zimmerman's life) for cello and piano with Palm and Aloys again.
You have remiinded me that a good few years ago I tuned in to a radio proms broadacst and heard stillness and returning (Stille und Umkehr) . Yes, a haunting piece. It was sometime back in the 80's or 90's I can't quite remember which.
Glad to hear of Pascal Dusapin, and that both you and Parla are familiar with him. I only made his acquaintance at last summer's proms, when a piece the BBC co-commissioned with Radio France and Seoul Philharmonic was performed, called Morning in Long Island. Interesting piece, very sensitive orchestral sonorities. It was on the same programme as the Beethoven Triple Concerto (Prom 5 2011 Monday 18 July). A name to watch out for methinks. It was played by the Orchestra Philharmonique de Radio France conducted by Myung-Whun Chung.
PS I believe that Frank Martin's wife published a book called My Life with Frank Martin in French. Do you know if the book was ever translated into English? Anyone?
Indeed - Souvenirs de ma vie avec Frank Martin (Maria Martin). Not translated so far as I know.
And as it's not so easy to find: "Stille und Umkehr" was available in a now deleted recording by Metzmacher, but that was part of a rather miscellaneous CD called "Who is Afraid of Twentieth-Century Music" (!?). The recording I have - I can't, alas, multiply CD purchases ad nauseam! - is of the first performance, conducted the year after Zimmermann's death by Hans Gierster, on a disc that's part of that vast compilation "Musik in Deutschland 1950-2000" released a few years ago by RCA/BMG. The whole collection is the sheerest treasure trove, but "Stille" is nearly drowned out at one point by some suspiciously focused-sounding coughing ...
Beyond the francophones, there is also a contemporary Italian, Signor Sylvano Bussoti, who wrote a strangely beautiful work in the genre, namely The Rara Requiem (1969): a meditation on the beauty and the fragility, the life and death through charm and enchantment, the mystery and the quality of the timbres and the refinement of the sound. Despite the atonal character of the work, the vocal and instrumentales melodic lines are characterised by a sensible and effective structure. There is, as far as I can tell, only a (deleted by now, I think) recording on DG with Gianpiero Taverna.
Yes, good place for marking other possible directions. The structure of Bussotti's piece is remarkable; musically it goes in and out of quotation from his own work, and it sets not the Latin liturgy but a collage of over twenty writers from different periods. Music, time, 'biography' ... To give idea of sound, scored for SMzTB plus vocal sextet, 15 players, no strings except for cello and guitar (!). There's actually a recent-ish recording on the wonderful Col Legno with Venetian forces conducted by Arturo Tamayo, which I believe is still available - well worth the bother.
Yes! Small world. The only Bussotti CD I have is The Rara Requiem on Col Legno, which I found in the ginormous classical section in the Oxford Street HMV 2 or 3 years ago. Always come back with a handful of CD's after a Proms visit to London! The CD date is given as 2005, but the live recording is dated 1998 from the Chiesa di Santa Stefano, Venezia, produced by Teatro La Fenice. A strange but enchanting work.
Curiously, I also have one score only in my collection from Bussotti - the Setti Fogli - seven graphic pieces for various small forces. Each one is contained on one piece of A3 paper inside a folder. Picked that one up from Universal Music years ago - they're now teamed with Schott. I'd like a recording sometime of these pieces to see how they're interpreted.
The only oft-quoted example of Bussotti's music is in the books on 20th C music where I've often seen the same one - from the Five Pieces for David Tudor - it looks like a massive ink-blot on a music stave!
The Jecklin recording not available at present on the official society of Frank Martin website.
BUT joyous news -
A book by Maria Martin has been published:"Treasured memories, my life with Frank Martin" (in English)
Terrific, Mark! I've been able to use the French text thanks to a great ILL system, but had no idea the book had made it into translation.
It sounds like our record collections may be secret clones! I agree completely about the interest, provocativeness, etc. of graphic notation. Again, hate to sound like a database, but for "realizations": three of the Bussotti Sette fogli are on a disc (Autotono) which came out with Stradviarius last year, and another is on a collection by the wonderful double-bassist Buell Neidlinger (on Vivace). There may be others of those pieces I don't know.
Again, not to drone on about Zimmermann, but his deeply moving Sonata for Solo Viola has many connections to the requiem thread. I'd rather leave people to explore if they wish. Fine versions out there by Christoph Schiller (ECM), Christophe Desjardins (Aeon) and Anna Spina (Neos).
Going a bit back in the last century, what about the charming Requiem by Durufle, composed in 1947, with three different orchestrations and blessed with a very good number of recordings?
The one on the French label Hortus, with only organ (the instrument of the composer) is quite moving, leaving the text and the musical lines to breathe, enhancing the charm of the composition itself. The choral ensemble, named Les Elements, respond like one in the direction of their leader Joel Suhubiette. Bright recording, allowing the precious details to shine.
Thanks for all the info Der Singende Teufel. I think the book by Maria Martin must be a recent translation of the original text, as it is listed on the Frank Martin Society website under the news dropdown menu. I'll be on the Dutch publisher's website on Monday morning then!
Parla - I did mention the Durufle on post 7 on page 1 - you might have missed it.
I missed it, Mark, maybe because it was such a small reference to an otherwise quite significant work in this genre.
Going still backwards, what about the Requiem of another French, the one of Ropartz. A very French one thanks to its harmonies and colours, composed in 1938, reminiscent of Faure, a bit more austere, since it does not distract the listener's attention form the sacred text, which constitutes to the work the origin, the means and the end.
Here lies Doctor BrodskyFrom whose rants we are now free
Here lies Uber AliceWho oft did speak from malice
Here lies Magnus OpusStrewth! He made a right fuss
Here lies Pablo LargoWeighed down by mental cargo
Here lies RastafarightTalkin' in-a-Babylon all night
Here lies Norma de PlumeForever barking at the moon
Here lies Gotfried HouvenHis identity never proven
Here lies Devon FarmerIt's certain 'ee weren't no charmer!
Here lies Yorkshire LadGone to 'eaven and 'ey up we're glad
Here lies Hugh FarquharWho, at last, has travelled far
If any such names I have forgotRest assured they're under this spot!
A fount of borrowed erudition
spurred by a civilizing mission,
Needy of acclaim (none needier)
and a true son of Wikipedia.
Good stuff! I already had you down as a good writer der singende teufel!
Your fellow scribe