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J.S. Bach: Goldberg-Variationen, BWV 988

Albert-Jan Roelofs

Klassiek - Verschenen op 15 oktober 2021 | NEOS Music

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Whether it was ever the intention to perform the Goldberg Variations in their entirety will always remain an open question. Contemporary reports from the circle of Johann Sebastian Bach, who composed this work around 1740, point in a different direction. Around 1800, based on information from Bach’s sons, Johann Nicolaus Forkel tells of the sleepless nights of Count Hermann Carl von Keyserlingk, at that time (1733–1745) Russian envoy in Dresden. Keyserlingk requested that his friend Bach make this persistent insomnia more bearable with music from his own hand. Bach hoped that a work with variations on a bass line would best satisfy this desire. Keyserlingk then asked his house harpsichordist, Johann Gottlieb Goldberg (after whose name this work became known), occasionally to play one or more of ‘his’ variations. However, it is the whole and integral performance of this set of variations that has acquired a permanent place in the repertoire of many a harpsichordist and pianist. By opting for an integral performance, the interpreter is expected to determine his thoughts in relation to the question of how the various variations relate to each other. It is completely unclear where the idea of playing variations in different tempi comes from. The original score from 1741 gives only one tempo indication (at variation 15 andante), although two other indications (at variation 16 and variation 22) imply a specific tempo. Editions with tempo indications for each individual variation cannot be found until the middle of the nineteenth century, which reveals the need for clear tempo differentiations, obviously an expression of a Romantic spirit. This attitude, however, contradicts the Baroque aesthetic of regularity and symmetry. Bach wrote the variations in different time signatures. Against this background, the question arises as to how this standard or uniform tempo is to be maintained. The answer can be found in the last bar of variation 26, where the notation of the rests deviates from the usual in a 18/16 time signature. The subdivision of the rhythmic accents thus shifts from 2 x 3 to 3 x 2 semiquavers. This last subdivision corresponds to the rhythmic accents in a 6/8 bar, the time signature of variation 27. Since, according to sources from Bach’s circle (including Kirnberger), the 8-denominator metres are to be understood fundamentally as triplet subdivisions of the 4-denominators, it quickly becomes clear that a uniform pulse is recognisable in the various variations and time signatures, which is based on the quarter-note of the Aria and can thus be regarded as the starting point for the choice of tempo. The present recording draws precisely on this idea; a uniform pulse creates a great unity in the work and lets the bass line work as a kind of ‘mantra’ which, despite the fact that this is anything but soporific music, allows the listener to experience a "swaying" cadence. © Albert-Jan Roelofs/Neos Music
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Franck: L'Organiste, FWV 41 (Excerpts Arr. for Accordion)

Doris Bertschinger

Klassiek - Verschenen op 15 oktober 2021 | NEOS Music

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Those who are familiar with the great works of the great masters mostly have little knowledge of the miniatures or incidental and commissioned works that they also produced. And so it can happen that the Sibelius enthusiast, having experienced the symphonies, is disappointed by the piano Pieces and the Beethoven devotee is bewildered by the latter’s Bagatelles, even if this says nothing fundamental about their quality. Many here might feel similarly about César Franck, who created immortal masterpieces of outstanding stature with his only Symphony and his magnificent Variations symphoniques, the mighty Piano Quintet, the Violin Sonata (his most successful work to date) and the String Quartet. There are imposing works of great format among his piano and organ music as well. But who is aware of his miniature cycle L’Organiste for organ or harmonium, this unfinished late work that was evidently planned to be large-scale in its entirety? As early as 1858–66, Franck had composed first an Offertoire and 5 Pièces for harmonium, then 44 further Petites pièces for organ or harmonium, about which his son Georges reported that his father had written them for use in church services by a pupil of many years who was now working as a village organist. These pieces, published posthumously, are assigned to the organ by present-day knowledge because of an obligatory pedal and various details regarding the registers; whereas the Offertoire sur un Noël breton and Quasi Marcia from 1867 and 1868 were clearly composed for the harmonium. So more than two decades followed, before Franck, in the last two years of his life, began a project for harmonium that remained unfinished only because of his death: a cycle of harmonium pieces comprising 12 suites of seven pieces on all 12 pitches. The posthumous publication of the unfinished cycle of 59 pieces, to be performed on either organ or harmonium, is entitled L’Organiste, Pièces pour Orgue-Harmonium par César Franck. The accordion has been most shabbily treated in compositions by the great masters until well into the 20th century, and so it made sense to transfer this cycle to the instrument. Of course, the timbres are sharper and the whole character is more extroverted than on the harmonium, but the essence can be transferred if performed sensitively and with a sense of style. Due to the smaller range in the low register, some melodic lines have to be transposed up an octave, but this does not change the basic impression. And indeed, underscored here is the typically Franckian symbiosis of sacred mysticism and a sweet catchiness, which sometimes touches on a Chanson-like, almost Clochard-like, charming folksiness. © Christoph Schlüren/Neos Music
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Plus!: Works for Clarinet Duo & Accordion

Krisztián Palágyi

Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 15 oktober 2021 | NEOS Music

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Charles Uzor: Mothertongue

Charles Uzor

Klassiek - Verschenen op 15 oktober 2021 | NEOS Music

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Michael Quell: Chamber Music, Vol. 3

der/gelbe/klang

Klassiek - Verschenen op 17 september 2021 | NEOS Music

“It is the mysterious, the enigmatic and the deeply unfathomable of reality that has always fascinated me and, with it, the need to sense the ineffable, to want to give presence to the distant, the ou-topos, as the driving force behind unbounded musical imagination, so to speak”. (Michael Quell) The world, seen as a kind of great puzzle into which man strives to penetrate ever deeper with the instruments of science and in which, behind every single insight, a whole compendium of new captivating questions and puzzles immediately opens up afresh – this approximates how Michael Quell’s world view can be described. This view immediately becomes the driving force behind his artistic work, which is strongly characterized by the search for the existential. For the composer, scientific thinking, in particular the specific world view of physics, plays a crucial role. For Quell, the visionary, utopian moment that drives his thinking and work lies in the urge to “go beyond what is as yet conceivable and tangible”. He is constantly searching for the instruments with which he can penetrate and enhance these new worlds, meticulously, even obsessed with detail. Whoever listens to Quell’s music allows themselves to be carried away into such unknown worlds; to have entirely new spaces open up: spaces of perception, sound spaces, structural spaces, hyperspaces, world spaces. The composer creates fascinating sound worlds with complex interacting work structures, in which the structure-giving principles are deliberately kept hidden, but whose results are clearly recognizable on the surface. In so doing, the “world of appearance of things” is developed in a concrete and differentiated way. Each work takes its own unexpected turns and penetrates previously unconjectured spaces. In retrospect, the parts of the work which have been heard come together to form a coherent whole that reveals itself as a multiple cosmos. © Matthias Schlothfeldt/Neos Music
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Detlef Heusinger: Lulu's Dream & Other Works

Carolina Eyck

Klassiek - Verschenen op 6 augustus 2021 | NEOS Music

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Three works by Detlef Heusinger come together in this album, with the electric guitar playing a central role in each. To suspect biographical grounds for this choice of instrument wouldn’t be wrong, but doesn’t in itself say so much: what young person growing up in the 1970s wasn’t fascinated by Jimi Hendrix? The psychedelic sounds of the Stratocaster, the distortions of effect boxes and overdriven amps, the many new playing techniques, the thrilling, overflowing improvisations? Heusinger had learned classical guitar before he changed to electric guitar at age 14, and, inspired by bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, he began to appear in various musical formations onstage with this instrument. But his studies with Henze or Nono as well as the avant-gardist Canon of the Forbidden would leave little room for playing the electric guitar. His duties as composer, conductor and later leader of the SWR Experimentalstudio wouldn’t permit further obsessions. With the guitar concerto 2nd Anniversary of Zabriskie Point (2005), however, Heusinger returned to his old love of the instrument. Admittedly, he came back to it with a totally changed perspective: he put the electric guitar in the historical context of electronic music and thus, in a manner of speaking, re-invented it as an instrument. As a solo instrument, the electric guitar conjures a modern version of the timeless Lulu; in the solo concerto it functions in what would seem to be a long-outdated genre; in chamber music it serves as a mediator for the whole history of electronic music from the theremin to today. And a shot of nostalgia, fortunately, is once again permitted in the world of contemporary Music. © Stefan Jena/Neos Music
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Pierre Boulez: Anthèmes & Dialogue de l'ombre double

Carolin Widmann

Klassiek - Verschenen op 16 juli 2021 | NEOS Music

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A composer, orchestra founder and polemicist, omnipresent in the second half of the 20th century, Pierre Boulez remains famous principally as a conductor in the memory of the general public. It remains to be seen what history will remember him for. Will he be remembered primarily as a composer, like Gustav Mahler, will it be as a conductor, like Igor Markevitch, or will he be remembered for both roles like Leonard Bernstein? Today, Boulez's music is much less performed and recorded than that of his American colleagues; it is also much less accessible.Passionate about contemporary music since starting his studies, clarinetist Jörg Widmann is also a much performed composer and has created many works for his own instrument, working with Pierre Boulez among others. In this album, which he dedicates to the French composer, accompanied by his violinist sister, Jörg Widmann performs Dialogue pour l’ombre double for clarinet and an electroacoustic device developed by IRCAM and produced on this recording by the SWR Experimentalstudio in Southern Germany. Dedicated to his friend Luciano Berio for his sixtieth birthday (1985), Boulez's work was inspired by the double shadow scene in Paul Claudel's Le Soulier de satin.Ten years later, Boulez composed Anthèmes II, a new version of his solo violin work Anthèmes I. In this new interpretation, the work is twice as long and also uses a live electroacoustic device, played here by Caroline Widmann, which frames the clarinet piece with the two versions. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Light and Shade

Maria Riccarda Wesseling

Klassiek - Verschenen op 16 juli 2021 | NEOS Music

Three powerfully suggestive and image-rich titles come together in the programme of this recording : An durchsichtigen Fäden, Concubia nocte and Danse interstellaire. These works, unified by the presence of a string quartet, circle in the field of tensions between existential fatigue and existential courage, between light and shade, between grief and comfort. As such they are prime examples of the spirited experimentation and powerful expression of the composer David Philip Hefti, who spans the full spectra between sound and noise, sensation and stillness, tension and release, with compositional virtuosity. A great shade lies over all three works. Dark, melancholic, sad and even desperate tones come consistently forward. Nevertheless the compositions strive toward life and light. David Philip Hefti’s music defies melancholy with optimism and joy for living, and he shows in his virtuosic manner how every shade may be indicative of light. © Deborah Meier/Neos Music
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Noriko Kawakami: Chamber Music

Julia Spaeth

Klassiek - Verschenen op 4 juni 2021 | NEOS Music

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Jaime Reis: Solo & Chamber Works

Gian Ponte

Klassiek - Verschenen op 4 juni 2021 | NEOS Music

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Moritz Eggert: Die Tiefe des Raumes (Ein Fußballoratorium) [Live]

Ania Vegry

Klassiek - Verschenen op 21 mei 2021 | NEOS Music

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Moritz Eggert did not have much to do with sport until the end of 2004, when he was asked whether he would like to write a “Football Oratorio” for the Ruhrtriennale 2005. He finished the composition in only five months, working from the beginning of March until the end of July. After its premiere at the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum, the piece was also made a part of the cultural program for the 2006 World Cup, with two performances at the Komische Oper Berlin. Along with the Oratorio came further football-works, such as Ballack, du geile Schnitte (roughly: “Ballack, you cool cat”) or Am Ball – Ein Fußballett, which in 2008 caused a furore with its conservative audience at the Vienna Opera Ball. Overnight, Eggert became the “football composer” and is today one of the most well-known and, as he himself says, “adventurous” contemporary composers. © Neos Music
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Remixed

GrauSchumacher Piano Duo

Klassiek - Verschenen op 19 maart 2021 | NEOS Music

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Many works by major composers are available in different versions. The changes range from minor retouching in the instrumentation to scoring for a completely different set of instruments, and even to a practically new composition. Sometimes it was the authors themselves who undertook these revisions, publishing several versions of a single work, while at other times contemporaries or later generations turned their attention to these compositions, seeking to adapt them to a different way of listening, changed aesthetic sensibilities, or newly-available technical possibilities. However, the intention of the arrangers was always to leave the musical content of the original work untouched. Through these sound metamorphoses, they succeeded, in the best case, in bringing about a change of perspective that cast a new and unexpected light on the work in question. © Neos Music
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Jim Franklin: Songs from the Lake

Jim Franklin

Klassiek - Verschenen op 19 maart 2021 | NEOS Music

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The nature of the work, and of this recording, is deliberately performative. The shakuhachi, a deceptively simple-looking Japanese bamboo flute and a highly physical instrument, features in all the movements. This flute, and the combinations shakuhachi / live electronics (that is to say, electronic processing of the shakuhachi sounds in real time), were performed simultaneously by one player (me) and recorded in single, complete takes, without separate takes of the electronics, and usually as a direct mix to stereo. This is effectively identical to the way the pieces are performed in concert, and attempts to capture the nuances (and unavoidable ‘imperfections’) of real-time performance as opposed to the (apparent, and often disembodied) perfection of studio construction. In some of the movements, all instruments, including the additional electronic resources beyond real-time processing of the shakuhachi, were played and recorded simultaneously in real time by one performer (shakuhachi and theremin / live electronics in Ripples and shakuhachi / live electronics and Haken ContinuuMini in Surface Trace). Even where multiple synthesizers were employed, multitracked layering was kept to a minimum. For example, the complex synthetic textures of Mirrored Depths were recorded as only two layers (real-time performed stereo mixes, admittedly using sequenced elements that were manipulated during performance, rather than being performed note-for-note). ©: Jim Franklin/Neos Music
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Christian Ofenbauer: Zerstörung des Zimmers/der Zeit

Johannes Marian

Klassiek - Verschenen op 19 maart 2021 | NEOS Music

As enigmatically abstract and hermetically beautiful as Christian Ofenbauer’s music may occasionally be, so sensitively does it nevertheless react to the context in which it is created, to the performers for whom it is conceived, to its contextual framework. Granted, everything composed communicates, even if through an ostensible refusal to express itself. Yet Ofenbauer has numerous series of works that could even intertwine and whose components are interrelated, such as the series of BruchStücke (“BrokenPieces”) and the six Streichquartettsätze (“String Quartet Movements”); compositions that enter into a musical exchange, refer to each other or diverge, in which common ideas are renegotiated and events developed further. © Neos Music
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Donaueschinger Musiktage 2019

Bas Wiegers

Klassiek - Verschenen op 12 februari 2021 | NEOS Music

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David Philip Hefti: Die Schneekönigin

David Philip Hefti

Klassiek - Verschenen op 5 februari 2021 | NEOS Music

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Triptych

Gunnar Geisse

Klassiek - Verschenen op 5 februari 2021 | NEOS Music

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Clemens von Reusner: Ideale Landschaft No. 6 & Other Works

Clemens Von Reusner

Klassiek - Verschenen op 1 januari 2021 | NEOS Music

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Figuren der Sehnsucht

Hans Maier

Klassiek - Verschenen op 18 september 2020 | NEOS Music

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Hindemith: Suite 1922, Op. 26 & Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-3

Andreas Skouras

Klassiek - Verschenen op 4 september 2020 | NEOS Music

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