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Britten/Hagen/Strauss

Ensemble Allegria

Britten/Hagen/Strauss

Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: Lawo Classics
UPC: 7090020182636
Catnr: LWC 1241
Release date: 16 September 2022
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Label
Lawo Classics
UPC
7090020182636
Catalogue number
LWC 1241
Release date
16 September 2022
Album
Artist(s)
Composer(s)
EN

About the album

Ensemble Allegria presents here a combination of works as an invitation to enjoyment as well as reflection. We are offered variations, metamorphoses and fragments, three different artistic working concepts. Variation and metamorphosis are similar artistic tools inasmuch as the material to be used is workable and encourages modification. At the same time, the basic material is recognizable or, in any case, reconstructible. Music cannot be created out of nothing. Whether deliberate or not, we find metamorphosis and variation in all compositions of a certain scope. Of course in the works heard here the motif of transformation is intended. And whereas musical variations — as with Benjamin Britten — typically retain a theme’s form and length more or less unaltered, a metamorphosis — as Richard Strauss calls his work — can by contrast pertain to everything from the shortest motifs to entire movements. A fragment — a form often associated with Romanticism — is on the other hand an idea that has not reached a final form and remains an intimation of something more. Lars Petter Hagen’s Strauss Fragments were commissioned by Ensemble Allegria.

Metamorphosis is a Greek expression simply meaning transformation. We find the motif of transformation in other art forms of course. Especially well known is the Roman Ovid’s sweeping narrative poem Metamorphoses from the beginning of the Christian era, and Franz Kafka’s story “Die Verwandlung”, published in 1915, about Gregor Samsa, who one morning awakens in the body of a huge and hideous insect.

All three composers on this CD stand in debt to an older colleague. Britten had a close association with his teacher Frank Bridge and reveals this through his variations. Strauss explicitly cites Ludwig van Beethoven’s third symphony in his Metamorphoses, and Hagen’s composition is based on this latter work. Composing on the basis of music one does not hold in high regard often results in a caricature. This is by no means the case here.

Artist(s)

Ensemble Allegria

Ensemble Allegria ranks among Norway’s finest music ensembles and is known for combining its high artistic standard with spontaneity and flexibility. The orchestra consists of 25 permanent musicians and has from the beginning been managed by the musicians themselves under the artistic direction of Maria Angelika Carlsen. In addition to its own concert series “NÅ” in Oslo, Ensemble Allegria has performed at large music festivals in Norway and appeared with some of the world’s leading soloists, including Tine Thing Helseth, Martin Fröst, Truls Mørk, Lawrence Power, Kathryn Stott and Benjamin Schmid. The ensemble has released four recordings on the LAWO Classics label, two of which were nominated for Spellemannprisen, Norway’s Grammy. In recent years the ensemble has worked closely together...
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Ensemble Allegria ranks among Norway’s finest music ensembles and is known for combining its high artistic standard with spontaneity and flexibility. The orchestra consists of 25 permanent musicians and has from the beginning been managed by the musicians themselves under the artistic direction of Maria Angelika Carlsen. In addition to its own concert series “NÅ” in Oslo, Ensemble Allegria has performed at large music festivals in Norway and appeared with some of the world’s leading soloists, including Tine Thing Helseth, Martin Fröst, Truls Mørk, Lawrence Power, Kathryn Stott and Benjamin Schmid. The ensemble has released four recordings on the LAWO Classics label, two of which were nominated for Spellemannprisen, Norway’s Grammy. In recent years the ensemble has worked closely together with the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir on a number of concert projects and recordings. In 2018 the orchestra received the prestigious Diapason d’or de l’année award for its recording of Bach’s motets.

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Composer(s)

Benjamin Britten

Benjamin Britten is one most important British composers from the second half of the twentieth century. Remarkably, he focused on opera, a dying genre, at least in its current form. Britten's contributions however, among which Peter Grimes, The Rape of Lucretia, Gloriana, The Turn of the Screw, and Death in Venice, managed to remain core repertoire for opera companies to this day. Many of these productions included a role for his artistic partner and life companion Peter Pears. Britten also wrote a number of lieder for this tenor, among which his Serenade for tenor, horn and string orchestra. Yet, Britten excelled in many more genres. He wasn't even 20 years old when he composed his brilliant Phantasy for hobo quartet and his friendship with...
more

Benjamin Britten is one most important British composers from the second half of the twentieth century. Remarkably, he focused on opera, a dying genre, at least in its current form. Britten's contributions however, among which Peter Grimes, The Rape of Lucretia, Gloriana, The Turn of the Screw, and Death in Venice, managed to remain core repertoire for opera companies to this day. Many of these productions included a role for his artistic partner and life companion Peter Pears. Britten also wrote a number of lieder for this tenor, among which his Serenade for tenor, horn and string orchestra. Yet, Britten excelled in many more genres. He wasn't even 20 years old when he composed his brilliant Phantasy for hobo quartet and his friendship with the legendary cellist Rostropovich led to a Cello sonata, three Suites for cello solo and a Symphony for Cello and orchestra in the 1960s.

Britten never became Master of the Queen's Music, yet he surely had feeling for public sentiments. For example, as a pacifist, he taught his people about world peace through his War Requiem from 1962. Britten was an excellent interpreter of his own work, just like Bartók and Stravinsky. Many of his recordings have been matched, but never exceeded.


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Richard Strauss

Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier, Elektra, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Salome; his Lieder, especially his  Four Last Songs; his tone poems, including Don Juan, Death and Transfiguration, and An Alpine Symphony; and other instrumental works such as Metamorphosen and his Oboe Concerto. Strauss was also a prominent conductor in Western Europe and the Americas, enjoying quasi-celebrity status as his compositions became standards of orchestral and operatic repertoire. Strauss, along with Gustav Mahler, represents the late flowering of German Romanticism after Richard Wagner, in which pioneering subtleties of orchestration are combined with an advanced harmonic style.
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Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier, Elektra, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; his tone poems, including Don Juan, Death and Transfiguration, and An Alpine Symphony; and other instrumental works such as Metamorphosen and his Oboe Concerto. Strauss was also a prominent conductor in Western Europe and the Americas, enjoying quasi-celebrity status as his compositions became standards of orchestral and operatic repertoire.
Strauss, along with Gustav Mahler, represents the late flowering of German Romanticism after Richard Wagner, in which pioneering subtleties of orchestration are combined with an advanced harmonic style.

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Lars Petter Hagen

His music has been called an art of ‘resignation,’ silent despair, and reduction, and he describes himself as a melancholic. But if all this suggests a man in retreat from society, Lars Petter Hagen’s career suggests quite the opposite. As a composer he has attracted international acclaim for his work, which maintains a unique and questioning stance towards the great musical milestones of the past. The UK’s Gramophone magazine described him as “essentially swearing in church, at the same time as crafting the most heavenly sounds this side of the pearly gates” and described his 2014 album of symphonic music performed by the Oslo Philharmonic as “genuinely visionary…the most important new music disc to arrive for a long time.” Works such as...
more
His music has been called an art of ‘resignation,’ silent despair, and reduction, and he describes himself as a melancholic. But if all this suggests a man in retreat from society, Lars Petter Hagen’s career suggests quite the opposite. As a composer he has attracted international acclaim for his work, which maintains a unique and questioning stance towards the great musical milestones of the past. The UK’s Gramophone magazine described him as “essentially swearing in church, at the same time as crafting the most heavenly sounds this side of the pearly gates” and described his 2014 album of symphonic music performed by the Oslo Philharmonic as “genuinely visionary…the most important new music disc to arrive for a long time.” Works such as "Norwegian Archives", "Tveitt-Fragments", and "The Artist’s Despair Before the Grandeur of Ancient Ruins" grapple with the heavy burden of history and the anxiety of infl uence for an artist in an age of retromania. He imports the dilemmas of dealing with and overcoming the past into the present tense of his music. "Archive Fever" – the title of a sound installation he produced for the International Music Institute at Darmstadt in 2016 – could be a neat summing-up of Hagen’s approach to his artistic practice.
Between 2009 and 2017, he was the Artistic Director of Ultima, not only Norway’s largest contemporary music festival but also one of the most important of its kind in Europe. Under his leadership, the festival achieved the highest audience ratings in its 25-year history. As curator of the Ultima festival (and previously other key organizations in Norway’s musical life), Hagen applied similar thinking: each event arranged around a theme or tapestry of concepts, each encompassing modernist masterworks, new commissions, and wide representation of contrasting avant-garde techniques.
Just as a festival can be a conversation about past, present, and future, the same idea can be applied to composing a piece of music – that it can be a platform for discussion. Hagen has always kept a loose yet highly informed relationship with tradition, often questioning it by forcing it to have a conversation with a multiplicity of styles, musical languages, and performance approaches. This extends across the broad range of his music, from notated and score-based work, to his collaborations with electronica projects Pantha du Prince and The Bell Laboratory. Hagen’s focus, as both composer and curator, is often about fi nding the arbitrary lines drawn around cultures and traditions, and applying pressure until cracks begin to show.
From 2017 Hagen took on the role of curating the centenary celebrations of Norway’s leading orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic.

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Press

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01.
Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10 (1937): Introduction and Theme
01:52
(Benjamin Britten) Ensemble Allegria
02.
Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10 (1937): Variation 1. Adagio
02:13
(Benjamin Britten) Ensemble Allegria
03.
Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10 (1937): Variation 2. March
01:00
(Benjamin Britten) Ensemble Allegria
04.
Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10 (1937): Variation 3. Romance
01:22
(Benjamin Britten) Ensemble Allegria
05.
Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10 (1937): Variation 4. Aria Italiana
01:15
(Benjamin Britten) Ensemble Allegria
06.
Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10 (1937): Variation 5. Bourrée Classique
01:10
(Benjamin Britten) Ensemble Allegria
07.
Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10 (1937): Variation 6. Wiener Walzer
02:36
(Benjamin Britten) Ensemble Allegria
08.
Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10 (1937): Variation 7. Moto Perpetuo
01:08
(Benjamin Britten) Ensemble Allegria
09.
Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10 (1937): Variation 8. Funeral March
03:51
(Benjamin Britten) Ensemble Allegria
10.
Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10 (1937): Variation 9. Chant
01:27
(Benjamin Britten) Ensemble Allegria
11.
Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10 (1937): Variation 10. Fugue and Finale
06:33
(Benjamin Britten) Ensemble Allegria
12.
Strauss Fragments (2020): I. Adagio
01:18
(Lars Petter Hagen) Ensemble Allegria
13.
Strauss Fragments (2020): II. etwas fliessender
00:51
(Lars Petter Hagen) Ensemble Allegria
14.
Strauss Fragments (2020): III. sehr langsam
01:36
(Lars Petter Hagen) Ensemble Allegria
15.
Strauss Fragments (2020): IV. etwas bewegter
03:26
(Lars Petter Hagen) Ensemble Allegria
16.
Strauss Fragments (2020): V. Transfiguration
02:28
(Lars Petter Hagen) Ensemble Allegria
17.
Strauss Fragments (2020): VI. Opening
04:55
(Lars Petter Hagen) Ensemble Allegria
18.
Metamorphosen (1945)
24:44
(Richard Strauss) Ensemble Allegria
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