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Othmar Schoeck
Rosamunde Quartett
Christian Gerhaher
Notturno

Rosamunde Quartett
Andreas Reiner violin
Diane Pascal violin
Helmut Nicolai viola
Anja Lechner violoncello
 
Notturno
Five movements for string quartet and voice on poems by Nikolaus Lenau and a fragment by Gottfried Keller, op. 47

I Ruhig
II Presto
III Unruhig bewegt
IV Ruhig und leise
V Rasch und kräftig (quasi Recit.)

Recorded December 2007

ECM New Series 2061
 
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Although being generally acknowledged as one of the leading composers of his native Switzerland, Othmar Schoeck (1886–1957) has never acquired a stable reputation outside the German-speaking world. This is partly due to his strong focus on the sung word: His output comprises eight operas, some 400 songs and a couple of smaller works for instrumental forces. Moreover, Schoeck’s essentially late-romantic style was considered démodé after the second world war when the avant-garde was arguing for a more rational and emotionally restricted approach to composition. One of his most personal works is the “Notturno” for baritone voice and string quartet. Written between 1931 and 1933 it served as a personal confession after an unhappy extra-marital love affair. Its five movements set verses by German 19th-century-poet Nikolaus Lenau and by the great Swiss writer Gottfried Keller. The highly differentiated interpretation by baritone Christian Gerhaher – one of the most distinguished young German “Lied” singers and a former disciple of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau – and the Rosamunde Quartett offers a strong plea for Schoeck’s expressive music and sheds an exciting light on his artistic preoccupation with the dark abysses of human existence.