It is a sad fact that the reputation and fame of many composers, built up over a lifetime, evaporates on their death bed. Si mes vers avaient des ailes, a short song written when the composer was just thirteen, is the work on which Hahn’s posthumous fame had, until relatively recently, relied, and is included here in the composer’s own transcription for cello and piano. Recording catalogues now reveal an ever-growing list of works—concertos, symphonic offerings, songs, piano pieces and chamber music—by this most urbane and charming composer.
Chamber music by Taneyev, Arensky, Shostakovich and Catoire. Chances are the you have heard of the first two composers. But have you ever heard any of their chamber music? And Catoire? Well, this self-taught composer has been a well-hidden treasure whose small out-put is rarely performed.
Russian born violinist Boris Tsoukkerman introduced Catoire's interesting chamber music to some of his Dutch colleagues. As a result several recordings were made to share their enthusiasm about this repertoire with a wider audience. At the time none other that Tchaikovsky admonished Catoire to continue composing. And later on both Arensky and Taneyev advised him on his work. And Rachmaninorr too liked Catoire's music
…Ensemble Villa Musica was founded in 1990 when a group of principal players from several of Germany's major orchestras assembled for master classes in Mainz under the state-sponsored Villa Musica foundation. The players decided to form the group with no limitations in repertory, but with a focus on neglected masterworks of the past. Most of the members retained their posts in orchestras and/or on the faculties of universities or music schools. The ensemble's leader since its founding has been clarinetist Ulf Rodenhäuser…
After the death of Janáček in 1924, Martinů assumed the mantle of the leading Czech composer of the twentieth century. The chamber music on this disc abounds with the mosaic-like patterns, translucent lyricism and infectious rhythmic vitality which give his works their kaleidoscopic quality. From the highly original Sextet of 1929, with its jazzy Parisian character, to the Flute Sonata of 1945, in which the much-travelled composer imitates the song of the whippoorwill, an indigenous bird of New England, this disc surveys a quarter-century of Martinů’s prolific and always inventive output.
Apparently a staple in Russia, the music of Taneyev exists on the fringes of the repertoire in the West, something that should be rectified–and will be if this superb CD made by a starry cast of performers gets the attention it deserves. He’s a Romantic composer, but hardly of the heart-on-sleeve variety, since he was a master of counterpoint and firmly encased his Romantic impulses in a well-fitted classical jacket. Sometimes he makes you think of a more modern, pungent Brahms with a Russian accent.
Johann Melchior Molter was a German baroque composer and violinist. (…) Molter's surviving works include an oratorio; several cantatas; over 140 symphonies, overtures, and other works for orchestra; many concertos, including some of the first clarinet concertos ever written; and many pieces of chamber music.
If you're a lover of chamber music then you can't do any better than this amazing 59 CD set. The overall price is steep but it averages out to be less than $5 per CD. Couple that with the truly legendary performances offered here and you have an incredible bargain that will not be around for long. The Westminster record label (1949-1965) was justly famous for it's "Natural Balance" recorded sound which was primarily the combined effort of producer Dr. Kurt List and engineer Karl Wohlleitner. Centered in Vienna, they had access to some of the finest chamber musicians in the world through the city's various orchestras.