Conductor Jean-Pierre Wallez can boast on an elaborate resumé on wikipedia, in English. So elaborate that even the French version is just an abridged, translated version. Before reading it, I probably saw his name on this record, but it never stuck: I never heard of the man. From the wiki page one might conclude he was a giant in his profession. I think this performance is testament to at least that. I think the French version of the page does him more justice though. A minor player in the world of the classics.
This record features a good recording and a recommendable performance, I must admit. Also highly interesting works. Stravinsky’s Concert in D major for strings, a work written in America but for a chamber orchestra in Basel, Switzerland. A short piece that was also used as a ballet. And then there are the Five movements for string quartet from Anton Webern.
Webern followed the teachings of Schönberg in the twelve tone technique. But both his Movements and the first piece on this record, Verklärte Nacht (already covered here), just slightly touch this revolutionary compositional technique. I will not go into it here, as I already wrote about it. Especially in Verklärte Nacht, the effect of Schönbergs experimentations with harmony is clear. Near the end of the piece it feels like the whole thing is running off the rails, harmonically speaking.
I’m pretty sure that’s what I like so much about this small collection. All the pieces are firmly rooted in late romanticism, but at the same time looking forward, and experimenting new ways of composition.