Martinu, Hindemith, Honegger
Johannes Moser, cello
Deutsche Radio Philharmonie
Christoph Poppen, conductor
Hanssler Classics, 93.276
What if classical music had taken a different turn in the mid-Twentieth century. Cellist Johannes Moser
gives us a hint with his latest release of concertos. Cello Concertos - Johannes Moser
works by composers who all wrote in a somewhat tonal style.
Paul Hindemith wrote music that he believed to be the logical extension
of the works of the great masters. His 1940 cello concerto is a brawny,
intense work, meticulously constructed to work out its musical
arguments. And yet there's nothing stiff or academic about the piece.
The concerto present its motifs in a forthright and natural
Swiss composer Arthur Honegger was more concerned about melody. From the
sweeping lyricism of the opening movements to the crashing chords of
the finale, the cello sings its song accompanied by the orchestra. This
1930 work occasionally betrays a hint of jazz, but it never degenerates
Bohuslav Martinu's music sounds like no one else's. His chords shimmer,
his harmonies slide about, always consonant, yet never quite settling on
a particular key. The music is often propelled forward with engaging
folk-based rhythms that help keep things slightly off-balance. Martinu's
first cello concerto, finished in 1930 isn't a landmark composition,
but it provides a solid introduction to the composer's style.
Johannes Moser moves effortlessly through all three works, adapting his
playing to the composer's styles. Regardless of the technical
challenges, his playing never sounds forced, and at times his cello
seems to positively sing. The Deutsche Radio Philharmonie led by
Christoph Poppen gives these works a spirited reading, nicely
complementing Moser's playing.
Recommended to anyone interested in unusual repertoire. And if you *hate* 20th Century music, you really should get a copy of this disc!