If you are drawn to works for string orchestra, and especially if you don’t mind venturing into some of the more challenging music of the 20th century, you’ll likely enjoy this cpo album of Heinrich Kaminsky’s Work for String Orchestra.
The music is originally Kaminsky’s String Quintet in f sharp minor, which was orchestrated by his student, Reinhard Schwarz-Schilling. Schwarz-Schilling’s orchestration is quite masterful. He didn’t simply add more string players to the solo parts of the quintet, but turned Kaminsky’s chamber piece into a sort of ‘Concerto grosso’, in that a quintet of players is treated as a solo ensemble accompanied by the rest of the orchestra.
This basic change to the structure of the work opens many new creative opportunities for it, and the arranger takes advantage of this increased expressive range in ways that add to its impact. For example, the work opens with a chorale performed by the orchestra which is quickly followed by a energetic contrapuntal section. These two themes, skillfully developed and merged by Kaminsky during the course of the movement are even more effective because of Schwarz-Schilling’s concertante treatment of them.
The work is practically void of ‘dissonance’, and while it is certainly ‘tonal’, there are sections where you may be hard pressed knowing where the tonal center is. The music is by turns gripping and lyrical, strangely beautiful and technically interesting. I feel musically enriched having made its acquaintance.
What is one to make of a composition that goes by the name of “Work”? Above all, how can one make such a work palatable, how can one convince somebody beside oneself that an incredibly complex, breathtakingly suspenseful piece of music lies in store behind this title – which is certainly the simplest and most repellent heading imaginable?
The facts are very clear: Heinrich Kaminski premiered his String Quintet in F sharp minor in Munich in 1917. Ten years after its premiere he returned to his quintet, relaxing its polyphonic interweaves. At almost the same time his publisher encouraged him to produce a choral string version of his symphonically dimensioned music. Kaminski assigned this task to his pupil Reinhard Schwarz-Schilling, who completed it to the contentment of all those concerned. The reworking experienced its premiere as the Work for String Orchestra in 1929.
A clairvoyant reviewer wrote already after a first hearing, “The whole musical body supplied the radiant colors to the pictures. Behind this iridescent façade there stands the strong musical personality of the composer, there stands the same ecstatic individual in an otherworldly state of transport, for whom music is spontaneous chance expression: genuinely and truly born of innermost conviction.”
Heinrich Kaminski was born in Tiengen in the Schwarzwald, the son of an Old Catholic priest of Jewish parentage. After a short period working in a bank in Offenbach, he moved to… read more
Lavard Skou Larsen
Conductor: Lavard Skou Larsen
Lavard Skou Larsen has won prizes both as soloist and as chamber musician, including the “Concertino Prague” and the “Sergio Lorenzi” in Triest. He was member of the Camerata Academica under… read more
The Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss
Orchestra: The Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss
The Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss (German Chamber Academy Neuss) is a chamber orchestra based in Neuss, Germany, specializing in obscure music from the baroque and classical periods as well as… read more
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Heinrich Kaminski: Werk fur Streichorchester - Adagio - Allegro - Andante (opening excerpt)