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last updated: 01/12/2015

Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915)

String Quintets op. 14 & 16

Alexander Zemtsov, viola
Pieter Wispelwey, violoncello
Utrecht String Quartet

MDG 603 1923-2


A musical cosmopolitan and a Russian patriot, a highly educated historian and a progressive who was skeptical about progress: there were differences of opinion about Sergei Taneyev even during his lifetime. While this Tchaikovsky pupil enjoyed the highest esteem as an educator, many regarded his compositions as unintelligible and reactionary. The Utrecht String Quartet, an ensemble delighting in discovery, has now set itself the task of his long-overdue rehabilitation. Just in time for the hundredth anniversary of the composer's death, the Dutch musicians, together with Pieter Wispelwey and Alexander Zemtsov, are presenting his two string quintets in a new recording shedding new light on Russian music from around the turn of the century.

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

String Quartets Vol. 9
op. 20 1, 3, 5

Leipziger Streichquartett

MDG 307 1925-2


Numerous conjectures swirl around Haydn's String Quartets op. 20. Since ten years passed between his first highly original contributions to this genre and this new group of works, might he have been experiencing a creative crisis? This "intermission" is fertile ground for wild speculations, but the Leipzig String Quartet rises above such guesswork. In the ninth volume of their Haydn edition the Leipzig four once again demonstrate the innovative and individual power of this highly fascinating work group now available in full with the new recording of Nos. 1, 3, and 5.

Vladimir Peskin (1906-1988)

Complete Trumpet Music

Giuliano Sommerhalder, trumpet
Kaja Wieczorek, piano

MDG 903 1918-6


Strange but true: during Stalin's reign of terror in the 1930s, the Balalaika Orchestra of the Red Army in Moscow offered Vladimir Peskin and Timofei Dokschitzer a safe haven. Perhaps, who knows, if not for this fortuitous encounter, Dokschitzer might never have become an all-time-great trumpeter whose name continues to be revered today. It was Peskin who wrote the music that brought fame to this highly talented young musician. Here Giuliano Sommerhalder explores this association born of need but developing into an immensely productive symbiosis.

Erik Satie (1866-1925)


Holger Falk, baritone
Steffen Schleiermacher, piano

MDG 613 1926-2


Erik Satie penned genuinely timeless hits, but so far his songs have not enjoyed equal attention. As Holger Falk and Steffen Schleiermacher demonstrate on this new recording of Satie's complete Mélodies et Chansons, however, a great injustice has been done here. The legendary eccentric's palette ranges from the tenderest seriousness to the crudest comedy; throughout his career he managed to survive in the bitterest poverty and supported himself as a "keyboard tinkler." The original humor distinguishing many of his piano compositions is also reflected in his songs - rewardingly rendered by Holger Falk, who here has the opportunity to display all his many versatile acting talents.

Peer Raben (1940-2007)

"Tot in New York"
Reconstruction of the German radio opera by Peer Raben and Jean-Jacques Schuhl
for vocals, jazz band, narrator, theatre
organ and breaking news

Ibadet Ramadani, vocals
The Dyed Blondes

MDG 926 1927-6


David Bowie has been assassinated! While the female artist is preparing for her appearance in Carnegie Hall, police sirens whine through Manhattan's streets, shots are fired, and speculations run wild on the omnipresent news channels. In 1982 Jean-Jacques Schuhl wrote a fictional end-time drama for radio, and the Fassbinder companion Peer Raben turned it into a radio opera for the magnificent Ingrid Caven. This ambitious work then situated in the near future has been lost, including the broadcast tapes. Together with Michael Emanuel Bauer, Raben's colleague for many years, Oliver Held has prepared a new version for the young singer Ibadet Ramadani combining the historical source with contemporary jazz to form a gripping fusion production.