R Strauss - Wind Sonatinas
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Label: Berlin Classics
Cat No: 0300576BC
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 23rd June 2014
WorksSonatina no.1 in F major for 16 wind instruments 'Aus der Werkstatt eines Invaliden', AV135
Sonatina no.2 in E flat major for 16 wind instruments, AV143 'Frohliche Werkstatt'
The Wind Sonatinas written by Richard Strauss are amongst the most beautiful creations of the late Romantic period. Reason enough for the Armonia Ensemble, comprised of leading soloists from the acclaimed Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra who have dedicated themselves to large-scale chamber music pieces for wind instruments, to take on these late works by the composer. Perhaps Strauss, approaching 80, was inspired by childhood memories as he returned to the wind ensemble.
His father Franz played the horn in the Munich Court Opera and the warm timbre of the instrument accompanied the boy’s earliest years. He was still a student when he composed the subtle shades of the Serenade in E Flat (1881) and Suite in B flat Op.4 (1884). Both were written for a 13 wind ensemble.
Strauss picks up the same thread, two threads in fact, over 60 years later. In 1943 he wrote the Sonatina No.1 in F major, giving it the title 'From An Invalid’s Workshop' – a reference to a bout of influenza he had recently overcome. He extended the clarinet family, having discovered the riches of its timbres in a wind orchestra in 1900. The Sonatina reveals the full harmonic mastery and nuanced tonal colour of the mature Strauss.
A year later, Strauss wrote Sonatina No.2 in E flat major, entitled 'The Happy Workshop'. Despite the tragic circumstances of war, this is strikingly cheerful music.
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