Wilhelm Killmayer: Chamber Works

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Wilhelm Killmayer

Label: CPO

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: CPO999 020-2

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Piano Quartet Barbara Westphal
Siegfried Mauser
Christian Altenburger
Wilhelm Killmayer Composer
Julius Berger
Brahms-Bildnis Wilhelm Killmayer Composer
Christian Altenburger
Julius Berger
Siegfried Mauser
String Trio Gabriele Weinmeister
Christian Altenburger
Wilhelm Killmayer Composer
Julius Berger
String Quartet No. 1 Julius Berger
Christian Altenburger
Wilhelm Killmayer Composer
Gabriele Weinmeister
Barbara Westphal
Vanitas Vanitatum Christian Altenburger
Wilhelm Killmayer Composer
Siegfried Mauser
This is a disc for all who welcome the news that there can be more to post-modernism than antimodernist nostalgia for good tunes. Wilhelm Killmayer is a German composer in his early sixties, and his music is not a sincere imitation of romantic models, still less a parody or pastiche of them, but a playfully serious reinterpretation not excluding disjunctions extreme enough to recall the essence of modernism itself.
The amusing, disconcerting and often affecting results of this approach are clearest in the most recent work, Vanitas Vanitatum, where only one movement (No. 4) employs the less explicit stylistic associations of Killmayer's earlier pieces otherwise hints of Schumann and Brahms abound. All the music on the disc has a simplicity that has nothing of the minimal about it. The Trio, in particular, reveals the rewards of combining an anti-conservative with an anti-avant-garde approach, and one would have to be singularly stiff-necked not to want to hear what happens next.
Killmayer can swing from meditation to frantic action within the frame of the most basic harmonic progression, and because his music is so convincingly natural in atmosphere, techniques and materials which in other hands might seem crude and predictable serve their purpose well. It is all something of a conjuring trick, and perhaps no more central to the development of music than conjuring is to theatre. But in the Piano Quartet where Killmayer shows how to develop strong shapes from a potentially featureless texture, we are left in no doubt that solid technique and not mere trickery is involved. In all the works the modern perspective is the point—the sudden reminders that this is romanticism through post-romantic eyes.
The recordings are rather close, the piano sound on the harsh side, but the performances well convey the open expressiveness and emotional diversity of this fascinating music.'

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