Zimmermann: Canto di speranza; Cello Concerto; Oboe Concerto; Trumpet Concerto (Nobody knows de trouble I see)

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COMPOSERS: Zimmermann
LABELS: Philips
WORKS: Canto di speranza; Cello Concerto; Oboe Concerto; Trumpet Concerto (Nobody knows de trouble I see)
PERFORMER: Heinrich Schiff (cello), Heinz Holliger (oboe), Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet); SWF SO Baden-Baden/Michael Gielen
CATALOGUE NO: 434 114-2 DDD
Enthusiasts for Zimmermann’s Trumpet Concerto ‘Nobody knows de trouble I see’, who were inspired by Håkan Hardenberger’s persuasive account at this year’s Proms, will welcome this disc, setting the work in context with Zimmermann’s contemporary concertos for oboe and cello. Hardenberger claims he is now asked to perform the piece frequently ‘as, sadly, its message becomes increasingly appropriate’; it was written as a reaction to racial hatred, and differing stylistic elements are fused in ‘brotherly unity’. Although formally organised by a 12-tone row, the musical ideas are heavily infused with jazz, and a separate combo is specified.

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Hardenberger’s superb recording comes hard on the heels of the equally excellent one by Reinhold Friedrich on Capriccio, but their interpretations are noticeably different. At the opening, Hardenberger’s choice of a hushed, pinched-tone mute creates a more mysterious effect than Friedrich’s bluesy sound, and throughout, Hardenberger’s solos are generally played straight, providing a contrast with the jazz combo sections, while Friedrich, inspired by the vision of unity, aims for more homogeneity of style.

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The Oboe Concerto, the first of Zimmermann’s works to utilise slimmed-down forces, is admirably played by Heinz Holliger (the juxtaposition in the Rhapsody of anguish and serenity is particularly effective). Heinrich Schiff brings equal expertise to the Canto di speranza for cello and small orchestra and the Cello Concerto. Deborah Calland