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Peter Schat: Complete Works through the 1990s Coffret

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Détails sur le produit

  • Interprète: Bernard Haitink, Hans Vonk
  • Orchestre: Concertgebouw Orchestra
  • Chef d'orchestre: Bernard Haitink, Hans Vonk
  • Compositeur: Peter Schat
  • CD (2 janvier 2013)
  • Nombre de disques: 12
  • Format : Coffret
  • Label: Nm Classics
  • ASIN : B000OPO6TC
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x9c9cb2a0) étoiles sur 5 1 commentaire
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HASH(0x9ceb2a50) étoiles sur 5 The complete works of Peter Schat (abridged) 21 octobre 2014
Par G.C. - Publié sur
Achat vérifié
The Dutch composer Peter Schat (1935-2003) enjoyed a composing career of about 47-48 years. By coincidence, his own official tally of his compositions numbers 48 works, according to his own opus numbering of his works. Although the introduction to the booklet by Anton Zijderveld and Emile Wennekes notes that this 48 isn't quite what it appears, with other works outside the official tally and such, it's good enough as a starting point here. This 12-CD album features 45 separate works of Peter Schat, going roughly in chronological and opus number order. Space does not permit a full discussion here of all 45 selections. Rather, this review will make more general observations, with some comments on interesting facets or individual quirks of this album.

In general, the journey of Schat as a composer can be seen in several stages, such as early modernist, strict serialism, politically radical (left-leaning), a gradually increasing engagement with musical tradition, and ultimately, his development of the "Toonklok" ("Tone Clock") theory as a compositional framework. The "Tone Clock", probably Schat's single biggest contribution to music composition theory and history, starts from the idea that any combination of three notes in the 12-note chromatic scale can count as a triad. With that idea, the conclusion is that 12 such chords are possible, and can be used as hours (sort of signposts) for the "Tone Clock".

In their introduction, Zijderveld and Wennekes also state that Schat's music is variable in quality (like any composer). However, perhaps a bit coyly, they make no explicit statements about their opinions about particular works in that sense. Likewise, the actual commentaries on the works by Bas van Putten generally make the best case for each work, avoiding negative comments. He also likes to emphasize Schat's "maverick" statements of protest against the perceived restrictions and dogmatism of total serialism.

The great majority of the recordings in this set came from the Dutch radio archives, of live concert performances of the Peter Schat works in question. However, these performances do not include any applause after them, although the odd cough from the audience indicates the original provenance of those live performances. Just a handful of these works are featured in studio recordings. In general, the performances are good, certainly never less than decent. Likewise, the recording quality is generally OK, perfectly fine radio broadcast sound from those archive recordings. The earliest recording is from March 1960, the 'Twee Stukken' (Two Pieces), op. 7, while the latest recordings are from May 2001, the Symphony No. 3 (5/19/2001), 'The Wallpeckers' (5/21/2001), and the 'Lenteconcert', or 'Spring Concerto' (5/25/2001). In the case of 'The Wallpeckers', this recording is the most blatant example of the exclusion of applause, as it ends quite loudly, but the sound at the end of the music is faded quickly to leave the applause out.

On a more granular level, several of the live performances derive from a single concert on 6/17/2000, a short time after Peter Schats 65th birthday, by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Hans Vonk. Vonk was perhaps the single most forthright champion of Schat's music. This is evidenced not only by the number of performances led by Vonk in this set, but also from pictures that show stills from productions of several of Schat's operas, where Vonk was the conductor, but also from the picture of the two of them in discussion. From personal past memory, Vonk also led performances of "De hemel" (The Heavens; February 1997) and "Arch Music for St. Louis" (January 1999) during his tenure as music director of the St. Louis Symphony, at which Schat was present. Interestingly, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic performances seem to have greater fluidity and ease from the orchestra than what I remember of the SLSO performances, granted that they took place well over 15 years back.

The "abridged" in the title needs elaboration, and is the main source of the debits in this presentation, as massive and impressive as it generally is, given the scale of the task. Schat wrote several full-scale operas or "music-theatre" works, 'Labyrinth', op. 15 (1960-1965), 'Houdini', op. 25 (1974-1976), and 'Symposion', op. 33 (1982-1989). In the case of these three works, the complete operas are not included in this set, but rather excerpts or suites. In addition, texts are not provided for these excerpts. This is especially a problem in 'De Trein' ('The Train'), op. 33a, which is based on the opening scene of 'Symposion', because 3 of the main male roles are baritones, and unless you know Dutch or listen very hard for clues in single words, you cant tell which part is being sung.

As well, texts are omitted in other works, like in the op. 28 chamber opera 'Aap verslaat de Knekelgeest' ('Monkey Subdues the White-Bone Demon') and op. 41 'Een Indisch Requiem' (An East Indian Requiem), presumably for reasons of space, as noted in the booklet. In other cases, like the op. 26 settings of Harry Mulisch poems 'Kind en Kraai' (Child and Crow), no translations of the Dutch texts are given. On the brighter side of things, some small nice surprises include the names of Frans Bruggen (@1970) and a quite young Janine Jansen (@2000) among the list of performers, respectively in 'Hypothema' (op. 20) and 'Genen' (Genes, op. 47).

In terms of the overall presentation, even with the omissions of sung texts and various other issues, this is certainly by far the most convenient way to study the music of Peter Schat, for those with that interest. This is the kind of recording compilation that could never possibly succeed on a commercial level, to be sure. Even on more academic and specialized levels, the market for this set is probably niche in the extreme. But if you're in that niche and have an interest in this composer, and you want to go the total immersion route into the music of Peter Schat, this would be the set to get.
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