Marion Walker: Fire Walker

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Współczesna Muzyka Klasyczna / Kameralistyka
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opakowanie: Digipackowe etui

Editor's info:
Quintet, Op. 39
Prokofiev's chamber music output is relatively modest—a handful of sonatas, two string quartets, an overture of Hebrew themes for clarinet, string quartet and piano, as well as this quintet for oboe, clarinet, violin, viola and bass.

The quintet, with its peculiar instrumentation and its tonal and rhythmic playfulness— described by some as “successfully circusy”—is a prime example of Prokofiev as an ironist and humorist, a superb craftsman who elegantly juggles his material and produces surprisingly sonorous, tonal and rhythmic kaleidoscopes. The work is one of his most radical, but the crassness of the elements is placated by the lightness of the form—like a kind of polite insolence. As a repatriated Soviet citizen, entrenched in the paranoia of Stalinist cultural life, Prokofiev washed his hands of the Parisian atmosphere, where complex patterns and dissonances were the accepted thing, and which fostered my predilection for complex thinking. The subsequent Soviet phase of his production is characterized substantially by the more sincere style favoured by the regime, yet without the elegance and certainty of style being compromised. Expat works such as the oboe quintet lead one to ponder the tantalising, yet ultimately futile question, what if later Soviet composers had also been allowed to spend some of their formative years in Paris?

Bælþræk, Quartet for Oboe, Violin, Viola and Cello (2016) / Bælsiþ, Concerto for Oboe and Sinfonietta (2018)
Humour has long been a central ingredient in Jon Øivind Ness's music, ever since he put his perilous life as a cat owner to music in the trombone concerto Dangerous Kitten (1997). In recent years, his music has transformed significantly, from the complex irony of the 90s, via the almost—to quote the composer himself—romantic fervour of the mid-00s, to a microtonally oriented musical language and occasionally ascetic expression in the last 10 years or so. Broadly speaking, there has been a development from the anarchistic maximal to the punctuated minimal (albeit occasionally massive), but as is so often the case, a leopard doesn’t always completely change his spots.

The words Bælsiþ and Bælþræk mean something akin to “Journey of the flame” and “Power of the flame” respectively. Both are old Anglo-Saxon words based on the root word “bæl”, meaning flame. The mixed vowel ‘æ’ and the fricative consonant ‘þ’ appear in both, and are symptomatic of Ness's attraction to musical and linguistic tipping points, thriving particularly in spaces ‘in between’ and in what is undefined, be it between the ‘a’ and ‘e’, or ‘E’ and ‘F’. The music that emanates from this penchant for tonal and phonetic ambiguity nevertheless appears as genuinely heartfelt and straightforward.

Marion Walker (oboe)

Ensemble Ernst
Thomas Rimul (conductor)

Sara Övinge (violin)
ers Rensvik (viola)
Ingvill Hafskjold (clarinet)
Gunnar Hauge (cello)
Marius Flatby (double bass)

Jon Øivind Ness: Bælsiþ, Concerto for Oboe and Sinfonietta
Jon Øivind Ness: Bælþræk, Quartet for Oboe, Violin, Viola and Cello
Prokofiev: Quintet in G minor, Op. 39 for Oboe, Clarinet, Violin, Viola and Double-bass

wydano: 05 January 2024
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Lawo Classics
Jon Øivind Ness (b.1968), Sergei Prokofiev (1891–1953)
Marion Walker
Fire Walker
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