Kummer: Chamber Music for Winds

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Composer: Caspar Kummer
Artists: Italian Classical Consort, Luigi Magistrelli (clarinet, horn & concert master
Elena Cecconi flute), Danilo Zaffaroni (bassoon), Maria Degl’Innocenti (piano)

Caspar Kummer is a composer of unjustly little renown. Held in high esteem by his contemporaries, relatively little information can be found on his life in the leading music dictionaries of today, a fact that stands in stark contrast to his compositional excellence as well as his virtuosity as a flautist. Though Kummer rose to the position of Kapellmeister in the castle chapel of an important German duke in his later years, his creative output failed to reach a similar level of renown after his death in 1870.

The music on this collection, constructed around his favourite instrument, goes some way towards doing the composer some justice. There are a number of noticeable highlights here. Von Dir! is a fascinating attempt – on the performers’ part – at ‘making an instrument speak’: the original vocal part is interpreted by a lyrical and otherworldly clarinet, which is in constant dialogue with the complementary flute. The challenging Adagio and Variations, meanwhile, requires a mastery of the basset horn (an instrument that, interestingly, was rather out of fashion for much of Kummer’s life), pushing the instrument to the upper edge of its range. The final Trio leaves us with a suggestion of the greater stylistic variety within Kummer’s work, leaning towards the Romantic rather than the dominant Classical style of the rest of the collection.

Tracklist:
00:00:00 Caspar Kummer: Concertino in C Major for Flute, C Clarinet and Piano, Op. 101
00:08:03 Caspar Kummer: Von Dir! Die Sternlein, die sprachen die ganze Nacht, for Flute, C Clarinet and Piano, Op. 127
00:14:01 Caspar Kummer: Adagio and Variations for Basset Horn and Piano, Op. 45
00:23:58 Caspar Kummer: Duet for Flute and Clarinet, Op. 46 No. 1: I. Allegro
00:27:59 Caspar Kummer: Duet for Flute and Clarinet, Op. 46 No. 1: II. Andante poco adagio
00:30:06 Caspar Kummer: Duet for Flute and Clarinet, Op. 46 No. 1: III. Allegretto con moto
00:34:12 Caspar Kummer: Duet for Flute and Clarinet, Op. 46 No. 2: I. Allegro brioso
00:39:20 Caspar Kummer: Duet for Flute and Clarinet, Op. 46 No. 2: II. Alla polacca
00:44:59 Caspar Kummer: Trio for Flute, Clarinet and Bassoon, Op. 32: I. Allegro
00:55:20 Caspar Kummer: Trio for Flute, Clarinet and Bassoon, Op. 32: II. Andante grazioso –
00:59:10 Caspar Kummer: Trio for Flute, Clarinet and Bassoon, Op. 32: III. Rondo: Allegretto

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