Mephisto - Carion 2016-09-22¢  3 3 ENG Carion Mephisto! There is nothing we enjoy more than those performances

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    Mephisto 01 Franz Liszt – Étude No.6 in A minor, from Grandes études de Paganini, S. 141 4’51

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Serenade No. 12 in C minor, “Nacht Musique”, K. 388 02 I. Allegro 10’15 03 II. Andante 3’46 04 III. Menuetto in canone – Trio in canone al roverscio – Menuetto 3’55 05 IV. Allegro 6’36 Dmitri Shostakovich – Suite for woodwind quintet 06 Galop from The Limpid Stream 1’59 07 Romance from The Gadfly 2’47 08 Bureaucrat’s Dance from The Bolt 2’38 09 Tahiti Trot (Tea for Two) 3’47 10 Waltz II from The First Echelon 3’50 Béla Bartók – Romanian Folk Dances 11 I. Bot tánc (Stick Dance) 1’15 12 II. Brâul (Sash Dance) 0’40 13 III. Topogó (In One Spot) 1’00 14 IV. Bucsumí tánc (Dance from Bucsum) 1’40 15 V. Román polka (Romanian Polka) 0’30 16 VI. Aprózó (Fast Dance) 0’56

    17 Franz Liszt – Mephisto Waltz No. 1 10’25

    TT 60’52

    All works arranged by David M.A.P. Palmquist


    Dóra Seres flute, piccolo Egils Upatnieks oboe

    Egīls Šēfers clarinet, E-flat clarinet David M.A.P. Palmquist horn

    Niels Anders Vedsten Larsen bassoon

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    Carion Mephisto!

    There is nothing we enjoy more than those performances during which it feels as though the audience is in the palm of our hand. We have their undivided and complete attention: the perfect atmosphere for communicating our ideas. Sometimes it is the characterful and theatrical aspect of our interpretation that captures the audience’s imagination. The movement, the drama, the intensity. But on other occasions it’s the sheer virtuosity that grabs our listeners, with almost mysterious effect.

    Legend has it that the bourgeoisie regularly fainted at concerts given by the great Niccolò Paganini. The aura of mystique enshrouding his personality and talent was truly remarkable, to the point where the only possible explanation for such great artistry had to be something super-human. No wonder so many believed he had sold his soul to the devil, a legend which held true even after his death, denying him a proper burial in sacred ground. He was a genuine interpreter, perhaps one of the first to whom what he played did not matter as much as how he played it. It seems very possible that the young Ferenc Liszt wanted to exude a similar air of mystique when he started writing and performing his own virtuoso piano music, often borrowing themes from other composers and transforming them into fantastic virtuosic showpieces in the great Paganini tradition. We couldn’t resist this idea ourselves when we decided to weave our next album around this red thread – this mephistophelian virtuosity.

    For this album, we’ve taken the programme beyond our usual wind quintet repertoire and have selected truly colourful, contrasting and virtuosic pieces. We explore the darker, mysterious side of Mozart in his Serenade for Winds in C minor; toy with the unique colours of the wind quintet in witty arrangements of Shostakovich’s stage and film music; explore mephistophelian connections in Bartók’s renderings of tunes from Transylvania; and, of course, pay tribute to the great virtuosos of the past, Paganini and Liszt, with two brand-new arrangements. While we don’t play the violin and are perhaps not quite skilled enough on the piano, we hope we have captured the mystique of the original works whilst opening up new horizons for the wind quintet, as we attempt to do with every programme we perform. We invite you to approach this album with a fresh and open mind, and to allow yourselves to be seduced by wind music as you’ve never heard it before.


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    “What a man, what a violin, what an artist! Heavens! What

    sufferings, what misery, what tortures in those four strings!” So

    wrote Liszt about Paganini, in a letter to Liszt’s pupil, Pierre-Étienne

    Wolf. Liszt had heard Paganini performing in Paris in April 1832,

    and was transfixed by the latter’s jaw-dropping virtuosity and

    use of innovative aural devices. The influence of this experience

    on Liszt was profound, and he set about writing a fantasy on La

    clochette (1833), the theme of which Paganini in turn used in the

    final movement of his Violin Concerto No. 2. Matters came full circle

    when Liszt based La campanella, one of his six Études d’exécution

    transcendante d’après Paganini, on the same movement.

    Between 1838 and 1840 Liszt wrote the Études, dedicated to

    Clara Schumann and, with the exception of La campanella, based

    on Paganini’s famous violin caprices (which have also inspired

    variations by Rachmaninoff and Lutosławski, among others). The

    resultant work, revised in 1851 as the Grandes Études de Paganini,

    is ferociously technically demanding, but also exploits the piano’s

    sonorities in new and exciting ways, with thrilling – occasionally

    witty – results. Translating this score into music for winds is a feat

    in itself, but performing music of such complexity as an ensemble

    requires an intense level of communication between the musicians.

    Mozart’s Serenade for Winds No. 12 in C minor, K. 388, is sometimes

    known as Nacht Musique (not to be confused with Eine kleine

    Nachtmusik, K. 525). Originally scored for pairs of oboes, clarinets,

    horns and bassoons, Mozart also arranged the work to become his

    String Quintet No. 2, K. 406. Little is certain about the piece, but it

    was probably written in 1782, possibly to a commission from Prince

    Liechtenstein of Vienna, although Emperor Joseph II had also

    recently put together a wind octet for his private entertainments,

    so the work could have been written for this group. In any case,

    Mozart was fresh out of Salzburg, having been expelled in 1781,

    and keen to make a good impression elsewhere.

    The serenade follows Mozart’s previous works in the genre,

    K. 361 and K. 375. Mozart relished exploring the different textural

    permutations available to him with these wind instruments.

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    Choosing to blend or accentuate their contrasting sonorities

    presented a more nuanced challenge than the homogeneity of a

    string ensemble. K. 388 is unusual for its brevity: the earlier serenades

    have between five and seven movements each, but this work has

    just four. Its tone is also unusual; serenades were intended for social

    occasions, but this is more introspective, a quality which no doubt

    inspired its nickname. The opening movement is characterised by

    rather serious pronouncements and vigorous unisons. There is a

    serene Andante, and another unusual feature in the Menuet & Trio:

    strict counterpoint, namely a canon in the Menuet, and a double

    canon by inversion in the Trio, possibly influenced by Haydn.

    The final movement is a series of intricate variations. In addition

    to its tone, there is a further nocturnal association with Mozart’s

    serenades, revealed in one of his letters describing K. 375b:

    “At 11 o’clock at night I was serenaded by two clarinets, two

    horns, and two bassoons playing my own music... The six

    gentlemen who executed it are poor beggars who play

    together quite nicely all the same... these musicians had the

    front gate opened for them, and when they had formed up

    in the yard, they gave me, just as I was about to undress

    for bed, the most delightful surprise in the world with the

    opening... chord”.

    Shostakovich’s film music and ballet scores represent a lighter

    side to a composer known for his searing symphonies and

    quartets. Yet even here his sardonic humour and gift for parody

    are in evidence; sometimes it is impossible to tell where sincerity

    ends and pastiche begins. The Galop comes from the suite to

    Shostakovich’s ballet, The Limpid Stream, Op. 39, of 1935. Despite

    its innocent plot and bright, melodic style, the ballet was banned,

    alongside The Golden Age and The Bolt (1931), and was also

    condemned in the Communist Party newspaper Pravda, all of

    which seriously damaged the composer’s reputation. The famous

    Romance from the score to the film The Gadfly (1955) is a rare

    instance of uncomplicated tenderness in Shostakovich’s music.

    Sinister bassoon writing characterises the Bureaucrat’s Polka from

    Shostakovich’s ballet, The Bolt, anticipating similar devices used

    to represent Katerina’s father-in-law in  Lady Macbeth. Tahiti Trot,

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    Op. 16, is the composer’s 1927 orchestration of Tea for Two from

    Vincent Youmans’s musical, No, No, Nanette. Shostakovich wrote

    it to answer a challenge from conductor Nikolai Malko, who bet

    the composer 100 roubles that he could not re-orchestrate the

    work in under an hour after listening to a recording of the piece at

    Malko’s house. Shostakovich won, in 45 minutes. Featuring s