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Martin : Petite symphonie concertante, 6 Monologues & Concerto for 7 Wind Instruments - Apex
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Martin : Petite symphonie concertante, 6 Monologues & Concerto for 7 Wind Instruments - Apex

Armin Jordan & Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
1 Oct. 1991 | Format: MP3

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Oct. 1991
  • Release Date: 1 Oct. 1991
  • Label: Warner Classics International
  • Copyright: 2002 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:02:15
  • Genres:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 193,590 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dr. R. G. Bullock on 28 Feb. 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Swiss composer, Frank Martin, is one of the outstanding composers of the 20th century. Schoenberg's 12-note (duodecaphonic) method of composing is nearly always mentioned as a strong influence on Martin but this is very misleading - his music uses an extended tonality. The music is accessible and often very beautiful and well worth getting to know.

The three works on this disc are all masterpieces. The Petite Symphonie Concertante (1945) is a symphonic work for harpsichord, piano, harp and string orchestra. The way Martin uses the three solo instruments is often magical, creating a highly characteristic atmosphere, with silvery, nocturnal colours and transparent textures. The adagio, which begins the second half of the work, is of breathtaking beauty, with the harp picking out a slow, pizzicato theme against harpsichord arpeggios.

The 6 Monologues from 'Jedermann' is one of the most impressive orchestral song cycles since World War II. The Austrian, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, reworked a medieval morality play and Martin extracted the texts for the six songs from this. The subject is what 'everyman' must do, and not do, to be redeemed. The settings are alternately powerful, dramatic and beautiful.

The Concerto for 7 Wind Instruments (1949) is another outstanding concertante work. The invention never flags and there is, again, a lovely central slow movement.

The performance by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under Armin Jordan is first rate, as is the recording. The notes on the pieces are rather brief but do include all the texts of Jedermann in English, French and the original German. The disc is altogether a bargain and a superb introduction to this important but relatively neglected composer.
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By Denis Byrne on 30 Jun. 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Excellent value .Speedy service.
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4 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Patrick J. Lavelle on 30 May 2006
Format: Audio CD
Frank Martin rocked my world. Not with these pieces, but with his Preludes for piano. But there aren't any recordings of these readily available (boo). There's a lot of beauty in this CD, though, and it seems to be quite well played.

He's certainly a composer worth investigating, and this CD is accessable. I still haven't really gotten into it, though. But some day, no doubt, I will find myself totally loving this CD.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Fine Modern Versions of 3 Outstanding Martin Works 28 Jan. 2004
By Nicholas A. Deutsch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The 3 works here, 2 for orchestra & one for baritone & orchestra, are among the finest by the great Swiss composer Frank Martin (1890-1974). They all date from the 1940s, when - after many years of hard work - he had finally achieved his highly individual mature style, particularly in matters of harmony. His most famous work, the "Petite Symphonie Concertante" for the unique combination of harp, harpsichord, piano & double string orchestra, remains as fresh & exhilarating as the day it was first performed; the "Concerto for 7 Wind Instruments" never ceases to delight in the ingenious, expressive ways Martin uses his soloists, separately & in various combinations. The "Six Monologues from 'Everyman'" - settings for voice & orchestra of excerpts from Hugo von Hofmannsthal's modern version of the medieval religious drama - is one of the 20th century's most moving song cycles, & has been performed and/or recorded by numerous well-known (bass-)baritones, including Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Heinz Rehfuss (both with Martin), Theo Adam, Jose van Dam, David Wilson-Johnson, Matthias Goerne, Hakan Hagegard & Thomas Quasthoff; there is a searing recent recording of the original piano version by Roman Trekel on Berlin Classics.
These performances are expertly conducted by Armin Jordan, very well-played & recorded; I think they'll hold up well over time. The "Petite Symphonie Concertante" is the pick of the lot - nice to have Christiane Jacottet, who once recorded Martin's Harpsichord Concerto under the composer, as one of the soloists - : shrewdly paced & with exceptionally well-judged recording balance. Some of the solo parts in the Concerto have been played with more assertive sense of character elsewhere, but the teamwork here is just fine, & again Jordan judges the "build" of the piece expertly. He also resists the temptation of equating "spiritual" with "slow" in the Monologues - not all conductors do. My only reservations have to do with baritone Gilles Cachemaille. He certainly sings beautifully & with great sincerity, but (as elsewhere) I find his voice when at "average" volume oddly inexpressive, if pleasant in timbre; as soon as the line rises in pitch & volume the performance comes to life. But if this is not the most emotionally heart-piercing version of the piece, it is still very good. And overall, if you're looking for good modern versions of these 3 works, or are just curious about Martin's music, this is a real bargain. (Note: These performances were previously issued on Cascavelle, at a considerably higher price. But although this is a "bargain" re-issue, it still comes with full text & translation for the song cycle - thanks, Warner Classics!)
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A valuable bargain-priced guide to this edgy Swiss 16 May 2004
By R. J. Stove - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Nicholas Deutsch's review, elsewhere on Amazon.com, seems a thoroughly judicious assessment: though I find Cachemaille's black-marble bass-baritone timbre more impressive (at all volume levels) than he does, and the CONCERTO's invention less so. Armin Jordan's direction is as meticulous in that piece, and displays as keen a judgement of tonal balance, as always. Those who know the work merely from Ernest Ansermet's boisterous and, in all conscience, fairly unkempt early-stereo version will be surprised to discover how much fine detail comes through here. I just wish the music itself - dating from 1949 - did not sound so often like a tired re-run of the mighty 1945 PETITE SYMPHONIE CONCERTANTE, although the bell-like tolling of the CONCERTO's central funeral march represents Martin near his best, and the finale's beery trumpet flourishes indicate a sardonic amusement not often associated with this edgy Swiss.

Had I been laying down the law in the present CD's production process I should have jettisoned the CONCERTO in favor of POLYPTIQUE, Martin's jolting meditation (for solo violin and string orchestra) on Christ's Passion. This Spaetlese, which seems to acquire a new force and strength in the age of Mel Gibson, dates from 1973; it confirms that age did not weary the 83-year-old Martin, nor custom stale his considerable - if not exactly infinite - variety. Still, at least we have here the ever-haunting JEDERMANN MONOLOGUES, some of the most somber inspirations that vocal music of the last 100 years can show, but also some of the most noble. They breathe the same air as Brahms's FOUR SERIOUS SONGS, though this air has understandably become more oppressive with the horrors of the 20th century, horrors which impinged with particular sharpness upon Martin's icily yet desperately religious temperament.

As for the PSC itself, Jordan's interpretation is more sober and less dramatic than some; it lacks the venomous malice that older conductors have conveyed, and has a statuesque quality that I have ended up rather relishing, with attention paid to all sorts of string filigree that more violent performances overlook altogether. Good if needlessly brief annotations, full JEDERMANN texts, expert engineering (the PSC notoriously abounds in balance problems, tackled here with above-average skill), and a scarcely believable bargain price: you cannot go seriously wrong with this reissue.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Golden Means 17 Aug. 2008
By Reviewer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Frank Martin (1890-1974) was one of the few 20th C composers who could write almost entirely within the harmonic and structural idiom of European classicism without sounding corny or cozy. His musical goals were always golden proportion and sober emotionalism rather than shock-value originality. The three compositions on this CD, all written in the 1940s, are a fine sampling of his art.

The Petite Symphonie Concertante, scored for two string choirs, piano, harpsichord, and harp, demonstrates Martin's superb control of the primary values of symphonic composition -- melody, rhythmic development, and orchestral color. The third movement especially reminds me of Prokofiev; Martin lacks the sardonic wit of Prokofiev but compensates with sustained intelligence.
The Six Monologues for bariton voice and orchestra, using texts by Hugo von Hofmannstal, are sung vigorously and movingly by Gilles Cachemaille. These intensely religious songs might well be compared to the Barefoot Songs of Swedish composer Allan Pettersson. In fact, Martin often reminds me of Pettersson, though he's easier to appreciate -- less consistently bleak, without the Swede's Kierkegaardian singularity, but with his own memorable melodic serenity.
The Concerto for Seven Instruments and Percussion also elicits a comparison, to similar ensemble pieces by the mature Leos Janacek. I've performed the bassoon part in this piece; it's magnificent fun to do, and if you listen intently, you'll hear the pleasure in the playing of these seven wind-instrument virtuosi from the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.

I've compared Martin to three of my favorite 20th C composers - Prokofiev, Pettersson, and Janacek - not only because of noted similarities but also because I suspect Martin is a composer of the same rank, though I've heard considerably less of his music.
A splendid introduction to the music of Frank Martin! 14 Sept. 2014
By Joseph Kline PhD, MD - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Frank Martin is a 20th century Swiss composer, son of a Calvinist minister, who is known primarily for his Petite Symphony Concertante, the lead work on this Apex album that was recorded in 1989 and 1991. The album also includes performances of Martin’s 6 Monologe aus Jedermann and Concerto for 7 Wind Instruments. All are performed by Armin Jordan and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.

The Petite Symphony Concertante is an attractive, mostly melancholic work. The piano, harpsichord, and harp have particularly vital roles in the piece, and at times the work seems more like a concerto for keyboard instruments. The music is extremely accessible and equally enjoyable. The 1st movement comprises 2/3 of the work, with the remaining two movements taking only about 8 ½ minutes in total. With the abundance of melancholy in the Symphony (and the other works on this disc), it seems clear that Martin has a special connection with this mood. As a psychiatrist, I find this rather intriguing. This is beautiful music, and an excellent place to begin with the works of this superb composer.

The 6 Monologes feature a fine-sounding baritone (Gilles Cachemaille). As I don’t particularly enjoy song after the 19th century romantics, so I found the orchestration to be the star in this work. For solo voice aficionados, the Monologes should be of great interest and satisfaction. The Concerto for 7 Wind Instruments, timpani, percussion, and string orchestra was of much greater interest for me. This is superb writing, and the Concerto is an interesting and entertaining piece. This more like a true concerto with the 7 wind instruments supported by a string orchestra. The 3rd movement, in particular, is alive with congenial rhythms and sonorities. There is also considerable percussion – timpani, for the most part, but also snare drum. The ensemble work here is exquisite and the performance polished.

This is an interesting album comprised of some superb music by Frank Martin. While the Petite Symphony is the most well-known, I found the Concerto for 7 Wind Instruments to be the most enjoyable. Sound is excellent. Martin may not be as exciting or inspired-sounding as other 20th century composers, but the listener should enjoy the music nonetheless. The Orchestra de la Suisse Romane play with energy and precision. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for the Petite Symphony and especially for the Concerto, but others should fine the Monologes very satisfying, as well!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
My favorite recording of Frank Martin's music 3 May 2011
By William J. Coburn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This recording from Apex contains the three pieces of Martin which I like the most, and the performances are all excellent. This CD is a good introduction to Martin's music. Actually, it is the perfect introduction to his music.
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