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Zimmerman: Cello Concerto; Impromptu; Antiphonen; Photoptosis
Bernd Alois Zimmermann, Hans Zender, Saarbrucken Radio Symphony Orchestra
Zimmerman: Cello Concerto; Impromptu; Antiphonen; Photoptosis
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1


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Excellent music for 20th-century music fans!
Dan Albertson | Highland, MI USA | 02/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The name of Bernd Alois Zimmermann is probably not a very familiar one to the experimental classical music listener. As this top-notch disc shows, Zimmermann's music was (and still is) strikingly original.It begins with his Cello Concerto in the form of a pas de trois, from the mid 1960s, a five-movement work that exploits to the fullest the solo cello as well as the unusual accompanying orchestra, which includes alto saxophone, contrabass tuba, electric guitar, prepared piano, glass harp, and even cimbalom. The large percussion section (5 players) plays a major rôle in the piece, providing rhythms that are, at times, danceable. This is, with a handful of others, surely one of the finest cello concerti written in the last half-century. The famous exponent of contemporary music, cellist Siegfried Palm (for whom Zimmermann wrote the concerto) gives an outstanding performance that would surely have been approved by its composer.Next on the disc is his "Antiphonen" for viola and 25 instruments, many of whom serve as narrators in the fourth of its five sections. The music is very raucous, typically uncompromising, and, yes, enjoyable! The startling vocal part of the work contains passages that range from the Book of Job to Dante to Dostoyevsky to Joyce.Next, what I think would make a wonderful concert opener, his "Impromptu" for orchestra. Emphasis, as with most of Zimmermann's music, is placed on the percussion instruments, with timpani being one of the main sources for this piece. Though only seven minutes, it is a piece filled with exhiliration, and a true delight to hear.The final work on this disc is his "Photoptosis" for large orchestra, including expanded wind, brass and string sections. The piece, like "Impromptu," is meant to be a concert opener; it's full title is "Photoptosis: Prelude for Large Orchestra." It is a piece replete with energy, and even a brief Beethoven quote!This disc is the best place to start if you dare to try something new in music; I consider it a must for anyone interested in post-WW II classical music. The faint of heart and those upset by lots of percussion should stay clear of this, however. This is not your everyday "classical music," and this is where conductor Hans Zender excels most. He's made his career off of contemporary works, and on this disc he pays homage to his late teacher, the essentially unknown but magnificent Bernd Alois Zimmermann, with unbeatable performances of his very difficult, but extremely rewarding, music."