Post Romantic Music for String Orchestra by Heinrich Kaminski


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.