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Holloway: Serenade in C, Fantasy-Pieces / Nash Ensemble

Album Summary

>Holloway, Robin : Serenade in C, for clarinet, bassoon, horn, 2 violins, viola, cello & double bass, Op. 41
>Holloway, Robin : Fantasy-Pieces on the Heine 'Liederkreis' of Schumann, Op. 16
>Schumann, Robert : Liederkreis, 9 songs for voice & piano, Op. 24
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

"A contemporary composer takes a nineteenth-century classic - Schumann's song-cycle 'Liederkreis' - and sets it in a musical frame of his own devising...the result, entitled 'Fantasy-Pieces on the Heine "Liederkreis" of Schumann' is uniquely fascinating, haunting and increasingly rewarding the more one goes back to it...Strongly recommended." -SJ, Gramophone

'Uniquely fascinating, haunting and increasingly rewarding the more one goes back to it. Strongly recommended' (Gramophone)

'The playing of The Nash Ensemble is quite superb' (Fanfare, USA)

'A*:1*' (Hi Fi News)

'The performances could scarcely be better' (Classic CD)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
A contemporary composer takes a 19th-century classic, Schumann's song cycle Liederkreis, and sets it in a musical frame of his own devising: a short, astringent 'Praeludium' and four extended movements, the style hovering between pure homage and what the composer calls 'phantasmagorical collage'. Certainly sufficient to cause hackles to rise! But the result, entitled Fantasy-Pieces on the Heine 'Liederkreis' of Schumann is uniquely fascinating, haunting and increasingly rewarding the more one goes back to it.

Brief though it is, the 'Praeludium' is just enough to tell the ear that the performance of Liederkreis that follows isn't going to be the whole story. Holloway picks up magically on Schumann's ending, in a short movement, 'Half asleep' (what follows is, at times, intensely dream-like).

Then come an Adagio, a Scherzo and a finale - on one level, symphonic, on another, an intricate series of references and cross-references based on Schumann's songs (not all from Liederkreis). The manner drifts between masterful irony and fleeting moments of intense self-revelation. Liederkreis remains Liederkreis, and yet something profound and (in the wider sense) modern is added.

The Serenade in C is a kind of post-modern divertimento. Scored for the same forces as Schubert's Octet, it alternates, charmingly and teasingly, between sensuous Viennese cosiness, something closer to the salon Elgar, and delightful, end-of-the-pier vulgarity - though with a more acerbic harmonic colouring from time to time. Play a short extract to a musical friend and he/she might well date it before the First World War. But nothing is ever what it seems for very long; the disruptive subtlety of Fantasy-Pieces is here too, despite the seeming holiday feeling.

Splendid performances from the Nash Ensemble - colourful, precise and sensitive to Holloway's kaleidoscopic shifts in mood. The recordings are quite excellent: the change in perspective for the Schumann songs makes perfect aural sense.



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Works Details

>Holloway, Robin : Serenade in C, for clarinet, bassoon, horn, 2 violins, viola, cello & double bass, Op. 41
  • Ensemble: Nash Ensemble
  • Notes: 09/04/1996-09/05/1996
  • Running Time: 6 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1979

>Holloway, Robin : Fantasy-Pieces on the Heine 'Liederkreis' of Schumann, Op. 16 :: 1. Praeludium
  • Conductor: Martyn Brabbins
  • Ensemble: Nash Ensemble
  • Notes: 09/04/1996-09/05/1996
  • Running Time: 1 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1971

>Schumann, Robert : Liederkreis, 9 songs for voice & piano, Op. 24
  • Performers: Ian Brown (Piano); Toby Spence (Tenor)
  • Running Time: 19 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1840