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Born in Germany in 1926, Hans Werner Henze grew up during the rise of Nazism. This had a major influence on his early musical training. His music incorporates elements of neo-classicism and serialism, influenced by Stravinsky and Hindemith and even some elements of jazz. After he left Germany in 1953 and moved to Italy, where he remained for the rest of his life, his musical style became enfused with the colourful tradition of Italian vocal music. The works featured on this disc, aptly named Modern Times, are a good showcase for the variety of styles Henze adopted during his lifetime. Nachtstücke und Arien (1957) sung by the exceptional German soprano Claudia Barainsky, and his Suite from the opera Die Bassariden (1964-65) are two works written after his move to Italy when his style was subsequently softened and more lyrical. His Symphony No. 8 was written in 1992 when the controvesy that has prevailed in much of his music before has died down. It is a delightful work and reflects the beautiful ambience of Italy where he had lived and worked for much of his life.Not only does the present recording include splendid and brilliant works of music, but also the more complex and difficult aspects of the maestro’s oeuvre; “Adagio, Fugue and Dance of the Maenads”.
Hans Werner Henze: Die Bassariden (The Bassarids): Adagio, Fuge und Manadentanz
Hans Werner Henze: Nachtstucke und Arien
Aria I: Wohin wir uns wenden im Gewitter der Rosen
Aria II: Mit schlaftrunkenen Vogeln
Hans Werner Henze: Symphony No. 8
I. Allegro moderato
Awards Issue 2008
“…the Eighth Symphony… is… an utter delight from first bar to last. The Gürzenich Orchestra play with real inspiration under Stenz's intelligent direction.”
22nd August 2008
“[The Petersen Quartet and Schäfers'] performance together of Schoenberg's Second Quartet is a model of musicality, even if the voice is set a bit too far forward in the recorded balance...The Petersens also make an excellent job of Webern's early string quartet movement, composed while he was a pupil of Schoenberg, and still shedding the trappings of late romanticism.”
18th July 2008
“Hans Werner Henze’s orchestral textures are often tangled, and this cloudy recording from Cologne doesn’t help them to shine – especially a pity with the mercurial moods of Symphony No 8, inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Night Pieces and Arias, from the mid1950s, is airier, though burdened by Claudia Barainsky’s slightly wailing soprano. Markus Stenz conducts the Gürzenich Orchestra, at its most thrusting in a suite arranged from the opera The Bassarids.”
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