Takemitsu, Pagh-Paan, Fukushima, Hindemith, Karg-Elert, Stamitz, CPE Bach & JS Bach

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COMPOSERS: CPE Bach & JS Bach,Fukushima,Hindemith,Karg-Elert,Pagh-Paan,Stamitz,Takemitsu
LABELS: Nimbus
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Hansgeorg Schmeiser
WORKS: Air (1996); Dreisam-Nore (1975); Eight Pieces
PERFORMER: Hansgeorg Schmeiser (flute)
CATALOGUE NO: NI 5522
Although this disc of solo flute music spans three centuries, Hansgeorg Schmeiser devotes a third of it to pieces from the last three decades, and, unusually, to composers from the East. Working chrono-unlogically backwards, he starts with Takemitsu’s Air (1996), a typically elegant fantasy. Schmeiser doesn’t fill, but rather feels the evocative silences. He swells in and out of ghostly legato passages or punchy, recurrent motifs with complete conviction.

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Flutter-tonguing, over-blowing, glissandi and exaggerated vibrato not so much punctuate as permeate Dreisam-Nore (1975), a haunting piece by South Korean female composer Younghi Pagh-Paan (a past pupil of Brian Ferneyhough) and MEI (1962) by Kazuo Fukushima. But these works go beyond technical display; they are intense, rhapsodic, passionate yet coherent and Schmeiser understands them.

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Of the other works, the bite-sized movements of Hindemith’s Eight Pieces deserve a simpler interpretation; Karg-Elert is played with apt brilliance, but the Classical correctness of Stamitz is lost in an over-beefy approach. Not so the Bachs. Schmeiser’s bold and brassy lower register helps make compositional dialogue strong, particularly when he is both melody-maker and accompanist. Kate Sherriff