Kurt Schwertsik: Baumgesänge (Tree Songs)/Nachtmusiken (Chandos Audio CD)

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Catalogue No: CHAN 10687
Shop Product Code: 253624V
Baumgesänge (Tree Songs)/Nachtmusiken (Chandos  Audio CD)

Status: Usually despatched within 10 - 12 working days

Department: CDs - Save up to 15% - Classical CDs

Publisher: Chandos

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BBC Philharmonic/HK Gruber
Baumgesänge (Tree Songs)/Nachtmusiken/Herr K Entdeckt Amerika

The works by the Austrian composer Kurt Schwertsik are characterised by his own particular exploration of tonality, and his sense of musical irony and humour. A pupil of Joseph Marx and Karl Schiske at the Academy of Music in Vienna, he later studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen in Cologne and Darmstadt. Here his works are performed by the BBC Philharmonic under HK Gruber, a close friend of Schwertsik’s and fellow founder of the MOB art & tone ART ensemble and the Third Viennese School.

Baumgesänge, Op. 65 (Tree Songs) was composed in 1992 to a commission from the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) for the Wien Modern Festival that year. The work is inspired in part by the composer’s childhood memories. In Schwertsik’s own words: ‘Trees are friends. To climb a tree was a great joy to me and still is. In these six movements I have tried to give trees a voice… he who pushes aside his dreams has lost everything.’

In Baumgesänge, Schwertsik uses orchestral forces to evoke a sense of the majesty and height of the trees, the blaring wind, and the birdsong in the woods – even the blows of an axe are depicted through the use of tuba, double-bassoon timpani, and piano.

Also on this disc is Herr K entdeckt Amerika, Op. 101, a work inspired by Franz Kafka’s unfinished novel Amerika. Despite the title (Mr K. Discovers America) there is not much specifically American about the music, although the rolling gait and touches of fanfare in the first movement, and the sense of large open spaces in the third movement, all contribute to the strong journeying character of the music.

Nachtmusiken, Op. 104 is Schwertsik’s most recent work, commissioned by the BBC and premiered in Manchester by the BBC Philharmonic under Gianandrea Noseda in 2010. In his ‘night thoughts’, Schwertsik presents a series of urban nocturnes, elegies, and memories in a seductive mix of passion, sorrow, and melancholy that cannot help but to grip and hold captive the listener from start to finish.

"...These pieces well convey Schwertsik’s mercurial, ironic sensibility and his dextrous juggling of Romantic tonality and modernist impulse..."
Paul Driver - The Times - 4 September 2011

IRR Outstanding
“Gruber ensures the best possible performances of music that proves very engaging... When listening there is an invitation to return to these appealing scores, and it’s difficult to think of them being better served than in these performance conducted by Gruber and captured in dynamic and vivid sound.”
Colin Anderson – International Record Review – September 2011

Contents and Reviews


Kurt Schwertsik (b. 1935) premiere recording Nachtmusiken, Op. 104 23:30 1 1 Janácek ist mir im Traum erschienen. Ruhig bewegt - 6:33 2 2 Wienerlied. Langsamer Walzer - Zeit lassen - Wieder im Zeitmaß - Zeit lassen - 3:50 3 3 …for David Drew. Ruhig bewegt und innig gesungen - Wieder etwas vorbreitern - 4:33 4 4 Geschwindmarsch. In rasender Wut - 2:59 5 5 Flucht. Ruhig gehend - Vorwärts streben - Zeit lassen - Schnell 5:22 premiere recording Herr K entdeckt Amerika, Op. 101 14:38 6 1 Überfahrt. Misurato, poco ritenente - Pesante 2:42 7 2 Im Hotel. Allegretto - Allegro - Poco meno 2:35 8 3 Unterwegs. Andantino tranquillo (espressivo, ma sempre poco ritenente) - Molto tranquillo 5:41 9 4 Das Naturtheater von Oklahoma. Andante con molto - Tranquillo (ma stesso tempo) 3:35 Baumgesange, Op. 65 21:26 10 1 Breit gesungen (Cantabile, ma pesante). 2:37 11 2 Lebhaft, Agressiv (Vivace). 0:41 12 3 Bleischwer (Molto pesante). 4:58 13 4 Sehr gedehnt (Allagare il Tempo). 4:56 14 5 Beweglich (Poco rubato). 3:08 15 6 Lebhaft, Agressiv (Vivace). 5:04 59:52 BBC Philharmonic HK Gruber Recorded in: Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester 4-6 August 2010 Producer(s) Ralph Couzens (Executive) Brian Pidgeon Mike George Sound Engineer(s) Stephen Rinker Denise Else (Assistant) Format: Digital CD 16Bit 44.1Khz Originally recorded in: 24Bit 96Khz