WORKS: Violin Concerto; Septet for Wind; Five Pieces for Wind and Percussion
PERFORMER: Christian Tetzlaff (violin)Soloists of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie
CATALOGUE NO: VC 5 45056 2 DDD
The biggest work on this unusual and intelligently chosen programme is also the highlight of the disc: Weill’s sardonic, fragile and disquieting Violin Concerto of 1924. It receives a performance of rare refinement: Tetzlaff rises to its virtuoso demands without compromising the spectral atmosphere and ambiguous half-lights so necessary to the first two movements. The wind soloists aid him with playing of remarkable colouristic range, and when all the performers let rip in the finale’s manic dance one hears the consistency of the ‘serious’ Weill: this movement, despite the occasional tinge of L’histoire du soldat and its nostalgic homage to Busoni, is clearly the progenitor of his Second Symphony’s saltarello finale.
Hindemith and Toch were among Weill’s leading contemporaries in the early Twenties: Weill’s Concerto is, for instance, directly comparable with some of Hindemith’s Kammermusik concertos of the same time. These two composers are represented here, however, by much later works. Hindemith’s Wind Septet, typically complete in its mastery of the instruments, is a good-natured, slightly too formulaic product of his full maturity, but seldom enough heard to make this first-rate performance welcome. Little of Toch’s music has ever made it onto disc; these Five Pieces (1959) are deft, witty, inventive and somewhat poker-faced, and open out from an austere quartet of woodwind to a large body of wind and percussion. An interesting reminder of a composer with whom we have still to come to grips. But it’s the Weill that makes this such a valuable disc. Calum MacDonald