The complete Brexit can be felt in many areas of life, in politics, in the economy. Fortunately, the culture spreads differently, and it has been since a time when no one thought of the EU. What would European literature be without Shakespeare, what would painting be without Turner or Bacon? Compared to this, the continent is …
The complete Brexit can be felt in many areas of life, in politics, in the economy. Fortunately, the culture spreads differently, and it has been since a time when no one thought of the EU. What would European literature be without Shakespeare, what would painting be without Turner or Bacon? Compared to that, most of the island’s classical music on the mainland goes under the radar. Wrongly! The string ensemble Metamorphosen Berlin led by its director Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt has now presented a welcome initiative to change that with their album “Very British” (Sony Classical).
As far as British composers are concerned, the attention of many music lovers – perhaps alongside “The Planet” by Gustav Holst and Benjamin Britten – is limited to Edward Elgar (1857-1934) and his march “Pomp and Circumstance “. The kingdom’s secret anthem is regularly sung with fervor by the crowd during the “Last Night of the Proms” at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The Berlin orchestra shows from the start with its serenade for strings, a spiritual, melancholy, but ultimately cautiously optimistic work, of beauty and intimacy that Elgar was able to strike with much calmer, softer, more melancholy notes. On the island, he belongs to the narrow cannon of his works. Even for the British, these are the arrangements Schmidt made of Elgar’s bedroom and living room pieces for string ensemble and solo cello. Nine little gems from the entire creative period of the master, to which the new version with Schmidt as soloist in the world premiere recordings gives them a new shine. The best-known piece is probably “Salut d’amour”, an easy and tender love song without words (there is also a version sung by José Carreras), which unfolds a special magic with the solo instrument.
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), whose first work of study “Simple Symphony” forms the middle section of the album, contrasts sharply with Elgar, who was always attached to romanticism. The four movements in its classical forms, grazing the grain, can best be compared with Sergei Prokofiev’s “Classical Symphony”. In the recording, he offers Berliners the opportunity of exuberant musicality and contained provocation. At the same time, Britten’s quarter-hour, as varied as it is entertaining, offers an impressive overview of what can be done with good strings. From the fragments of fugato in the first movement, it goes through the pure pizzicato in the second, the elegiac-baroque legato in the third up to polyphonic speed in the final.
Little known on the continent, Peter Warlock (1894 – 1930) and his Capriol Suite. The sequence of six pieces from “l’Orchésographie”, a dance book published in 1588 by the French cleric Thoinot Arbeau (1519 – 1595), arranged for strings, is presented in a dynamic and harmonious form in homage to the nobility of music Ancient. .
The conclusion is formed by a musician today: Karl Jenkins. The 77-year-old man, who went from jazz to advertising music to classical music and caused an international sensation with vocal works such as “Adiemus” or his peace salon “The Armed Man”, is pictured with one of his most famous works, the first movement of his suite “Palladio” which he composed in 1996 for an advertisement for a London diamond producer. A nice rhythmically clean finish for an album full of musical experiences aha, which also signals: even in classical music you have to continue to reckon with the British. Brexit or not.