Carolin Widmann’s widely acclaimed ECM recordings have traversed a broad arc of music – from Schubert to Xenakis. Here she turns her attention to one of the pivotal compositions of Morton Feldman. Violin And Orchestra, composed in 1979, marked a new direction, with an almost painterly attention to detail in slowly unfolding music. It is not a concerto in the strict sense of the term, not soloist with orchestral support. The violinist must move inside the glowing colour-field of sound. In this landmark Feldman recording, Widmann does so with great delicacy and feeling, exploring the subtle orchestral texture, crafted together with conductor Emilio Pomarico and the players of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Carolin Widmann’s widely acclaimed ECM recordings have traversed a broad arc of music – from Schubert to Xenakis. Here she turns her attention to one of the pivotal compositions of Morton Feldman. Violin and Orchestra, composed in 1979, marked a new direction, with an almost painterly attention to detail in slowly unfolding music.
…It's intriguing to imagine how a very slow performance would come off, but Schleiermacher's is a fully persuasive version of a piece that could have a number of very different but valid interpretations. MGD's natural, unprocessed sound is, as is typical for the label, immaculate and vivid.
This is a marvelous release, equally perfect in conception, execution, and engineering. The program locates the intellectual origins of the American avant-garde composers Morton Feldman and John Cage not in postwar European developments, but in the music of Erik Satie, who with each decade seems a more pioneering figure. Feldman and Cage here seem not modernists, but postmodernists. Front and center at the beginning is Feldman's masterpiece Rothko Chapel (1967), a chamber-ensemble-and-chorus evocation of the Houston, Texas, chapel adorned with paintings by, and partly designed by, the Abstract Expressionist painter Mark Rothko.
…Thanks to the unprocessed and fully natural audio signal, all of the nuances of Schleiermacher's touch are captured, yet there is also a slight background sound that apparently comes from the performance space, not from any defect in the all-digital recording. Listeners may find that this is only a mild distraction and easy to get past once the music takes hold. This important series is recommended for all Feldman aficionados and anyone interested in the sublime expressions of his late period.
…If you're unfamiliar with Feldman's nuanced, nondevelopmental music, this may not be the easiest point of entry, but . . . well, there probably isn't an easy point of entry after all, so why not just dive in?
"Johannes (Hans) Wolfgang Zender (born 22 November 1936 in Wiesbaden) is a German conductor and composer. (…) From 1988 until 2000 Zender taught composition at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt am Main. In 1997 Zender was awarded the Goethe Prize of the City of Frankfurt. Since 1999 he has been Permanent Guest Conductor of the Southwest German Radio (SWR) Symphony Orchestra in Baden-Baden and Freiburg…"