Rudolf Escher: Orchestra, Chamber and Choral Music

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Rudolf Escher (1912-1980) is without doubt one of the most original, intriguing and successful Dutch composers of the 20th century. In his youth he studied piano, cello, and composition with Willem Pijper in Rotterdam. During the war all his works were destroyed in the Rotterdam bombing. After the war he experimented with electronic music and came into close contact with Pierre Boulez and the serial techniques. In the end Escher developed his own highly personal music language. In Escher’s music we hear echos of the Dutch polyphonists, Mahler, Debussy and Ravel. After the war, Escher remained true to his own musical language, never buckling under the force of the latest trend.

This 3-CD portrait of Rudolf Escher presents orchestral works (his famous en best known Musique pour l’Esprit en Deuil and the Concerto for String Orchestra), chamber music (Trio for clarinet, viola and piano, Le Tombeau de Ravel) and Choral music (Songs of Love and Eternity, on poems by Emily Dickinson).

Composer: Rudolf Escher
Artists: Concertgebouw Orchestra/Riccardo Chailly/Netherlands Chamber Choir/Ed Spanjaard

The most extensive survey on record of a major Dutch 20th-century composer, featuring some of the country’s most distinguished musicians.

Born in 1912, Rudolf Escher had not yet turned 30 when, in the depths of the Second World War, he began the score which would at a stroke make him the most important living composer in the Netherlands. Premiered by the Concertgebouw Orchestra in 1947, Musique pour l’esprit en deuil (1941–3) – ‘Music for the grieving spirit’ – is a 20-minute score of intense, brooding pathos, inevitably overwhelmed by the shadow of conflict and a worthy counterpart to contemporary works such as Honegger’s Liturgique Symphony.

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Rudolf Escher:

Concerto for String Orchestra:
00:00:00 I. Canto appassionato, Energico alla breve
00:06:22 II. Rondo mediterraneo, Presto
00:15:10 III. Ciaconna epica, Grazioso e con moto
00:26:06 Musique pour l’esprit en deuil

Le tombeau de Ravel:
00:47:05 I. Pavane
00:52:43 II. Air
00:54:40 III. Forlane
00:58:32 IV. Sarabande
01:01:56 V. Rigaudon
01:05:00 VI. Air
01:07:50 VII. Hymne
Trio à cordes:
01:12:08 I. Transformations
01:19:08 II. Réminiscences
Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano:
01:27:00 I. Intrada — Allegro risoluto —Passaggio
01:34:05 II. Passacaglia notturna —Passaggio
01:44:19 III. Comodo
Songs of Love and Eternity:
01:51:31 I. These Are the Days When Birds Come Back
01:54:54 II. Wild Nights!
01:56:34 III. Heart, We Will Forget Him!
01:58:32 IV. The Wind Tapped Like a Tired Man
02:01:40 V. To Make a Prairie It Takes a Clover
02:04:09 Poems, First and Second Series: I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed
02:06:17 Le vrai visage de la paix
Ciel, air et vents:
02:17:57 I. Ode
02:21:35 II. Chanson
02:27:19 III. Sonnet
Three Poems by W.H. Auden:
02:29:56 I. If I Could Tell You
02:33:33 II. A Curse
02:36:59 III. Warm Are the Still and Lucky Miles

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