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Twilight of the Romantics: Cha

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Product Details

  • Performer: Orion Ensemble
  • Composer: Rabl; Labor
  • Audio CD (May 1 2009)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ced
  • ASIN: B000EDWM40
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #198,316 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. I. Allegro moderato (7:01)
2. II. Adagio molto (7:54)
3. III. Andantino un poco mosso (2:25)
4. IV. Allegro con brio (6:50)Quintet in D major for Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Cello, and Piano, Op. 11 (33:13) Joseph Labor
5. I. Allegro (13:10)
6. II. Allegretto grazioso (5:56)
7. III. Quasi Fantasia: Adagio -- (3:16)
8. IV. Tema con Variazioni: Quasi Allegretto (10:42)TT: (57:46)

Product Description

Twilight of the Romantics

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa31fe690) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa307e12c) out of 5 stars Fin de Siècle Twilit-Romanticism: c. 1890-1915... Jan. 11 2008
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There are various ways of framing historic-cultural periods according to the artistic zeitgeist of mutual influence and production. Withal, we unmistakably may discern a fairly clear and sharply drawn period from c. 1890 to 1915. Some cultural historians will push it back as early as c. 1885; and others will cut it off as early as 1910 (or even 1905) depending upon their emphasis of examination of cultural phenomena in various media of music, literature, and the plastic arts. In any case, there can be no question that 1915 marks a firm socio/political/economic demarcation of four years of total war in Europe which virtually severed the continuity of aesthetic development.

And so, we see this very special period of c. 1890-1915 as a kaleidoscopic efflorescence of fragrance, colour, flavour, and texture in high-art of every medium. We sometimes term this period the Fin de Siècle and/or la Belle Époque, and it encompasses the late-Victorian and Edwardian periods in Britain; the Second Reich in Germany; the Third Republic in France; and the Last Tsarist Period of Russia.

In music, we see this as the period of late-Brahms and Bruckner, Mahler, and early-Debussy on one end; and Schönberg, Scriabin, and late-Debussy on the other. Between these artistic giants were a slough of "little" artists which especially multiplied and flourished during this period--(due to rising economic prosperity of the bourgeoisie and proletariat of the time).

This fine disc features rare and exquisite works of musical Art Nouveau (i.e., late-Romanticism) from the apex of the Belle Époque:

Walter Rabl's prize-winning Quartet in Eb for clarinet and piano trio (1896) [:25mins].

Josef Labor's Quintet in D for clarinet and piano quartet (1900) [:35mins].

Get it and rediscover a long-lost past...

See too:
Brahms: Trio in Am; Zemlinsky: Trio in Dm
Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde (Arranged by Schoenberg)
Debussy: String Quartet; Fauré: String Quartet; Caplet: Conte Fantastique
Songs for Voice & Piano
Anne Sofie von Otter - Love's Twilight (Late Romantic Songs by Berg, Korngold, Strauss)
Berg: Sonata for Piano Op. 1 Schoenber
Scriabin: Complete Piano Sonatas
Brahms: Clarinet Sonatas, Op. 120; Vier ernste Gesänge. Op. 121 (arr. for piano)
Debussy: 12 Etudes; Berg: Sonate Op. 1
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3084b10) out of 5 stars Moderately pleasant late-romantic chamber music Nov. 4 2012
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Twilight of the Romantics" is the title of the disc, and both of the works featured here certainly have an autumnal feel to them; stylistically both works were composed in the shadow of Brahms, and there are influences of Schumann and other romantic composers here, but the language of both works nevertheless belongs, as the title suggests, to the twilight of romanticism. Both works are also pleasantly melodic and well written, though it is in the end hard to make very great claims for them; fans of late romantic chamber music in the manner of Brahms would want to give them a try, however, and at least the Orion Ensemble provides more than adequate advocacy.

Walter Rabl (1873-1940) is better known as a conductor and pianist - indeed, he stopped composing at the age of 30. His quartet in E flat major for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano is nevertheless a relatively early work, from 1896, and given the opus number of "1". It is a structurally well-made work, innocently tuneful and pleasantly comfortable, and essentially light in character. The example of Brahms looms large, and unfortunately Rabl's work, despite its qualities, sounds rather thin and shallow when that comparison is on the table (as it will inevitably be). At the risk of sounding more demeaning than intended (it is, indeed, a pleasant work) the quartet sounds to me like a good example of what solid craftsmanship can do in the absence of genuine inspiration.

The quintet in D major for clarinet, violin, viola, cello and piano by Josef Labor (1842-1924) is the superior work here. Labor is best known for his organ music, but on the evidence of this work it may be worth exploring his other output. That said, his quintet from 1900 is hardly a masterpiece, though at least it offers something more substantial than Rabl. Stylistically the work is indebted, once again, to Brahms, but there are also modest touches of Liszt and perhaps even Wagner here, all incorporated in a moderated language that displays deep commitment to classical forms and modes of expression. The opening movement is singing and relatively free of concern, and the absence of any kind of challenge threatens to make it outstay its welcome a little. The central movements are mostly charming but with more than a streak of solemnity. The finale, a set of variations, is more substantial, and despite the variations format Labor manages to create some surprisingly impressive passages, especially those that inventively employs thematic material from the previous movements.

The Orion Ensemble plays both works very well - indeed, it is hard to imagine much more compelling advocacy for these works (though they are perhaps a little laidback in their approach), and the Cedille sound is warm and natural. In the end, however, I am hard pressed to give an unequivocal recommendation for this disc - the music is indeed pleasant and charming enough, but there is little here (the finale of the Labor apart) that lingers in the memory. Nonetheless, if you have a particular interest in late romantic chamber music this disc is surely worth investigating.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa30842ac) out of 5 stars Misleading! Aug. 30 2007
By Noetica - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Orion Ensemble and Cedille Records are to be congratulated for offering two interesting and neglected pieces from the late Romantic period. At least in the case of the Rabl, however, this is NOT a world premiere recording, as Cedille persists in claiming at its website (and see description, above). This well-crafted quartet, by a composer who was a mere twenty-three years old, prefigures the instrumentation famously used in Messiaen's Quatuor pour la fin du temps, and also in a quartet by Hindemith (1938). It is enormously engaging, and deserves a secure place in the repertoire. The performance here is adequate, but what appears to be the real world premiere recording (Ensemble Kontraste; Thorofon B00000IFN9, released in 1999) is fresher, more spirited, and more deeply etched. The Kontraste recording is also, I think, better engineered. All that said, I very pleased to own both CDs!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa308a21c) out of 5 stars Natural, realistic sound, too March 25 2013
By John J. Puccio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The folks at Cedille Records offer this disc of première recordings by composers Walter Rabl (1873-1940) and Josef Labor (1842-1924). Obviously, neither man is a well known composer, but that's the point, and they are both worth a listen.

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor