BLACHER Concertino HINDEMITH Kleine Kammermusik
If I say that what we have here is a varied exhibition in charcoals rather than oils, that’s not meant in any negative way. Boris Blacher’s Konzertstück for wind quintet and strings (1963) opens like a dawn chorus before taking to the skies on swirling strings where the participants reconvene for yet more song. The bassoonist is an important protagonist, Blacher’s style at times almost Webernian in the way phrases dart cross each other and interject, though the language is basically tonal. From time to time the clarinettist launches a glissando reminiscent of Rhapsody in Blue – it certainly made me smile.
The two works by Hindemith are in marked contrast to each other, the Kleine Kammermusik for wind quintet of 1922 light and transparent, the wind Septet of 1948 more along the lines of the fun-packed Symphonic Metamorphosis of five years earlier (try the opening Lebhaft). Hindemith’s pupil Harald Genzmer (1909-2007) suggested that ‘music is supposed to be energetic, imaginative and comprehensible’. His Wind Quintet of 1956 57 is all three, though in some respects spins a darker yarn than the other works programmed.
Schoenberg pupil Hanns Eisler’s seven-minute, two-movement Divertimento for wind quintet is an absorbing essay, very much of its time, a sort of ‘Schoenberg for Dummies’, the second movement a rigorous theme with variations which in style ‘runs from Beethoven to Schoenberg’, to quote Günter Mayer. I enjoyed it a great deal, as I did the rest of the disc.
As for the superbly recorded Munich Chamber Orchestra, to say that they make light of the entire programme is simply to say that all you’re aware of for the duration is the music itself. Could anyone ask for more?