|Robert Schumann||Concert Piece For 4 Valve Horns And Orchestra F Major Op. 86.|
|Richard Wagner||Siegfried-Idyll .|
|Richard Strauss||Metamorphoses For 23 Solo Strings.|
Bavarian State Orchestra, Kent Nagano.
When conducting the Bavarian State Orchestra, a matter which is of key importance to Kent Nagano is the orchestra’s special character, which has evolved from out of its almost 500 years of tradition, it being one of the oldest orchestras world wide. For Nagano, herein lies the analogy which is necessary for his commitment for all that is new in music.
The distinguishing feature of this orchestra is its unmistakable warm and dark string sound, having been fostered by the great operas of Mozart and Wagner, and enriched not only through the works of Richard Strauss but actually working with the composer himself. What culminates from out of this, through the tonal contributions of the horns and brass, is a basic tone quality which is wonderfully rounded, never stressing brilliance merely for the sake of brilliance. As an opera orchestra the Bavarian State Orchestra is immensely flexible and sensitive to the nuances and emotions of a score, a trait which in the 200 years of their activities as a concert orchestra, has formed them into such an exceptional ensemble.
Furthermore it is the versatile and pioneering horn group which forms the backbone and power house of the orchestra, and not only in the music of Wagner. Richard Strauss’ father, who in his day was principal hornist in Munich is for the musicians a much revered historical symbol. The task of performing Schumann’s “Konzertstück” is one to which the horn group rises with more than bravura.
Richard Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll” represents an important element in the orchestra’s tradition. Performances of this work in which it is taken back to its origins to such an extent, are rarely heard, and its deep inner calm is rarely felt as much as in the new recording with Kent Nagano and the Bavarian State Orchestra.
Strauss’ late work “Metamorphosen” for 23 solo strings betokens the end of a musical era. This is a piece which symbolizes contemplation of the past and closure, and at the same time the beginning of a new age.
Thus the program on this SACD sketches, in its own quiet way, a portrait of the Bavarian State Orchestra and its general music director.