Robert Schumann, Heinz Holliger: Aschenmusik

Heinz Holliger, Anita Leuzinger, Anton Kernjak

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Heinz Holliger’s lifelong fascination with the music of Robert Schumann finds further expression on this newest release: on Aschenmusik, a new interpretation of the Swiss oboist-composer’s “Romancendres” is framed by Schumann’s own works. “Romancendres” refers to the lost “Cello Romances” which Clara Schumann burned on Brahms’s advice, an act of destruction which outraged Holliger and fuelled the composition of this “music from the ashes” in 2003. It’s a portrait of Schumann, packed with quotations, projected like a lifetime passing through the mind of a dying man. “Romancendres” is prefaced by Schuman’s “Romances” for oboe and piano, masterpieces which have been part of Holliger’s repertoire for 60 years, and by the rarely-played “Studies in Canon Form” which find Holliger on the oboe d’amore. The album closes with Schumann’s first sonata for violin and piano, with cello substituting for violin. Holliger: “Schumann himself thought it could also be played on a cello. I find it grandiose with this combination of instruments.” Strong performances by Holliger himself and by Anita Leuzinger, solo cellist from the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, and by Austrian pianist Anton Kernjak make this album another important addition to Heinz Holliger’s ECM discography. Aschenmusik is issued in time for Holliger’s 75th birthday on May 21st.

Heinz Holligers musikalisches Schaffen ist eng mit Robert Schumann verknüpft. Dafür steht auch seine neueste ECM New Series CD Aschenmusik, auf der Holligers Komposition Romancendres von Kammermusikwerken Robert Schumanns eingerahmt wird.

Romancendres bezieht sich auf die verschollenen „Cello-Romanzen“, die wohl Clara Schumann auf Anraten von Johannes Brahms hin verbrannt hatte. Dieser Akt mutwilliger Zerstörung empörte Holliger und führte zu dieser „Musik aus der Asche“ in 2003. Das Werk ist ein Portrait Schumanns, angefüllt mit musikalischen Zitaten, mit dem Gedanken, dass die Asche der verbrannten Werke das ganze Leben von Schumann enthält.

Romancendres wird umrahmt von Schumanns Romanzen für Oboe und Klavier, die seit 60 Jahren zu Heinz Holligers Oboen-Repertoire zählen, und Schumanns selten gespielten Sechs Stücken in Kanonischer Form, von Theodor Kirchner arrangiert für Oboe d’amore, Violoncello und Klavier. Das Album schließt mit Schumanns erster Sonate für Pianoforte und Violine in der Fassung für Violoncello und Klavier. Heinz Holliger: „Schumann selbst hatte daran gedacht, dass man die Sonate auch auf dem Cello spielen könnte. Ich finde das Stück in dieser Variante grandios.“ Aschenmusik erscheint zu Holligers 75. Geburtstag am 21. Mai 2014.
Featured Artists Recorded

July 2012 & November 2013, Radio Studio, Zürich

Original Release Date

23.05.2014

  • Sechs Stücke in kanonischer Form, op.56
    (Robert Schumann)
  • 1I Nicht zu schnell02:04
  • 2II Mit innigem Ausdruck03:42
  • 3III Andantino01:44
  • 4IV Innig03:08
  • 5V Nicht zu schnell02:12
  • 6VI Adagio03:34
  • Drei Romanzen für Oboe und Klavier, op.94
    (Robert Schumann)
  • 7I Nicht schnell03:27
  • 8II Einfach, innig04:02
  • 9III Nicht schnell05:02
  • Romancendres
    (Heinz Holliger)
  • 10I Kondukt I (C.S.- R.S.)04:32
  • 11II Aurora (Nachts)06:50
  • 12III R(asche)S Flügelschlagen04:38
  • 13IV Der Würgengel der Gegenwart03:28
  • 14V heiter bewegt ("Es wehet ein Schatten darin")02:15
  • 15VI Kondukt II ("Der bleiche Engel der Zukunft")02:03
  • FAE Sonate in a-Moll, WoO 2
    (Robert Schumann)
  • 16III Intermezzo. Bewegt doch nicht zu schnell02:40
  • Sonate Nr. 1 für Pianoforte und Violine in a-Moll, op.105
    (Robert Schumann)
  • 17I Mit leidenschaftlichem Ausdruck08:21
  • 18II Allegretto03:51
  • 19III Lebhaft05:56
Music by and about Robert Schumann: Heinz Holliger’s lifelong fascination with Schumann finds further expression in this new recording. On Aschenmusik, a new interpretation of the Swiss oboist-composer’s Romancendres is framed by Schumann’s own works. Romancendres refers to the lost Cello Romances of 1853 which Clara Schumann burned on Brahms’s advice, an act of destruction which outraged Holliger and fuelled the composition of this “music from the ashes” in 2003. Romancendres, however, is not an attempt to reconstruct a lost Schumann composition. It’s a portrait of Schumann, packed with quotations and allusions which are projected, as Holliger says, like a lifetime passing through the mind of a dying man.

Romancendres is prefaced by Schuman’s Romances for oboe and piano, masterpieces which have been part of Holliger’s repertoire for 60 years, and by the rarely-played Studies in Canon Form which find Holliger on the oboe d’amore. Heinz Holliger: “The studies are magnificent. To me, Schumann is the only 19th-century composer after Beethoven who succeeded in striking a balance between extreme contrapuntal complexity and romanticism.. Not even Brahms managed this with the same ease and naturalness. We always feel that his counterpoint is something constructed, while Schumann was capable of dreaming these incredible constructs. This simultaneity of the unconscious and the highly deliberate is the most inimitable thing about Schumann. And he displays it in these canon pieces. We don't even notice their rigorous construction. The structural side is extremely thorough, but it remains in the background, hiding from itself.”

The album closes with Schumann’s first sonata for violin and piano, with cello substituting for violin. Holliger: “Schumann himself thought it could also be played on a cello. I find it grandiose with this combination of instruments.” Strong performances by Holliger himself and by Anita Leuzinger, solo cellist from the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, and by Austrian pianist Anton Kernjak make this album another important addition to Heinz Holliger’s ECM discography. The album is issued in time for Holliger’s 75th birthday on May 21st.