Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Candida Thompson – Dvorak, Haas & Schulhoff – The Bohemian Album (2009) DSF DSD64

Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Candida Thompson – Dvorak, Haas & Schulhoff – The Bohemian Album (2009)
DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz  | Time – 01:18:01 minutes | 3,08 GB | Genre: Classical
Source: ISO SACD | © Channel Classics Records B.V. | Front Cover, Booklet

The Bohemian AlbumAmsterdam Sinfonietta has combined aromantic masterpiece of the string orchestrarepertoire with two wild compositions from theinter-war period. Dvo?ák, Haas, and Schulhoffhardly make a conventional mixture, but allthree of these composers had their roots in aregion which was known for many centuriesas “Bohemia.” One can hear this commonground in the rhythmic diversity, the influenceof folk music, and the melodic inventivenessthat characterizes their music. Haas andSchulhoff were part of a very promising groupof composers whose music was proclaimed“entartet” [degraded] at the end of the 1930s.Fortunately, their music has been rediscoveredand performed in recent decades. Themusic of Haas and Schulhoff is refreshinglyrebellious and original, and forms a contrastwith Dvo?ák’s romantic Serenade. Marijn vanProoijen wrote out a beautiful double-basspart for the works of Haas and Schulhoff,which were originally conceived for stringquartet.

Though only Dvorák’s Serenade is familiar here, and is given a performance of great friendliness and charm, a firm historical thread links the three works. Pavel Haas was a great loss to the tradition, a Janácek pupil who understood what his teacher had to offer and produced music of much gaiety and exuberance right up to his dying days. The booklet does not mention that these were in the Terezín concentration camp when he was only 45. This is an early piece (1925), with influences including Czech folk scenes with the grinding glissandos of wagons being hauled, beautiful long nocturnal melodic lines, and in the finale a kind of macabre exuberance that includes contributions from a percussion section (some work lists describe it as a jazz band). If this is not such a stylistic jumble as it sounds, it is because Haas’s vivid ear manages to provide some kind of unity.

Ervín Schulhoff, whose death at 48 in a concentration camp also goes unmentioned in the booklet-note, was encouraged as a boy by Dvorák and developed a range of interests that included jazz and the microtonal music of Hába. His quick ear for parody shows here in five witty miniatures: an “Alla valse viennese” in which the music seems to be irritably challenging the inexorable 3/4 rhythm, a blithe Serenade, a bouncy “Alla czeca” that doesn’t take national rhythms too seriously, a perilously languorous Tango and a furious concluding Tarantella. None of it amounts to much but is entertaining enough, especially when played with the cheerful abandon it is here. –John Warrack, Gramophone


Antonin Dvořák (1841-1904)
Serenade for Strings in E opus 22 (1875)
1 Moderato 04.23
2 Tempo di Valse 06.16
3 Scherzo: vivace 06.16
4 Larghetto 05.24
5 Finale: allegro vivace 05.37

Pavel Haas (1899-1944)
String Quartet no. 2 opus 7 (1925) “From the Monkey Mountains”
(version for string orchestra and percussion)
6 Landscape 11.06
7 Cart, Driver and Horse 04.52
8 The Moon and I 08.50
9 A Wild Night 08.22

Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942)
Five Pieces for String Quartet WV 68 (1923)
(version for string orchestra)
10 Alla Valse Viennese (allegro) 01.56
11 Alla Serenata (allegretto con moto) 04.14
12 Alla Czeca (molto allegro) 01.42
13 Alla Tango Milonga (andante) 04.55
14 Alla Tarantella (prestissimo con fuoco) 02.46

Amsterdam Sinfonietta
Candida Thompson, leader

Recorded: Bachzaal, Amsterdam (Haas, Schulhoff); Philharmonie, Haarlem (Dvořák); 23 & 24 may 2008 (Haas); 21 december 2008 (Schulhoff); 22 & 23 december 2008 (Dvořák)


%d bloggers like this: