Late Works Compilation, Import
Friedrich Goldmann, who passed away in 2009, was one of Germany’s most distinct composers of his generation. His works were commissioned and performed by leading interpreters, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, Pierre Boulez, Ensemble Modern, Arditti Quartet and Daniel Barenboim. His music is not only heard at leading German and European concert halls and festivals, but was also commissioned for major events like Expo 2000 and the 20th anniversary celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate. As a conductor he has recorded CDs with the works of Stockhausen, Henze and Rihm (for Deutsche Grammophon, Wergo, RCA and others).
Friedrich Goldmann also was the academy professor who taught Paul Frick – now successful with Brandt Brauer Frick in performing techno with the means of a classical ensemble. He is also the father of Stefan Goldmann, one of the leading producers and DJs of avant-garde techno. He therefore had influence on two key figures of experimentation at the intersections of classical and electronic music.
This new 2011 disc appears thanks to Goldmann's son Stefan, an electronica artist, and his Macro company. I hope every single one of the readers of the May 2011 issue of The Wire listened to it when they found it as their free bonus disc that month!
Haiku a 6 (1994 -- 4'24)
Modern Art Sextet
Ensemblekonzert 3 (2007 -- 23'33)
Sisyphus zu zweit (2008 -- 11')
Biliana Voutchkova (violin) and Agnieszka Dziubak (cello) -- DuoKaya
Wege Gewirr Ausblick (2008 -- 17'15)
Orchestra of HfM Dresden, led by Ekkehard Klemm
Goldmann died at the age of 68 in 2009. Three of these works, the longest three, were written shortly before his death. It is tragic that he did not live to create more great music! The first piece, "Haiku a 6" from 1994, is for a sextet of flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello and piano. Delicate and mysterious, it is modernist, yet not at all what I have come to expect from Goldmann. This sets the tone for the disc -- modernist music that is challenging, yet accessible.
I find "Ensemblekonzert 3" to be the standout work here, an absoutely stunning piece performed magnificently by musikFabrik, led by Enno Poppe and recorded live on June 15th, 2008 at the Bachfest Leipzig. A fantasia on the fundamental notes of an arioso by Bach from the St. Matthew Passion, it is dynamic and endlessly engaging. The 16 member ensemble features electric guitar at climactic moments, which gives it a populist edge.
"Sisyphus zu zweit" for violin and cello was also recorded live on July 4th, 2008. It is a somber work, not as lugubrious as, say, Penderecki, but definitely not to be taken lightly.
"Wege Gewirr Ausblick" ("View of Tangled Paths") for orchestra was commissioned for the opening of the new concert hall of the Hochschule fur Musik "Carl Maria von Weber" Dresden (HfM Dresden) and this is a live recording of the premiere performance on October 31, 2008. Like Wolfgang Rihm's recent works, this is a less thorny and forbidding composition than some of Goldmann's from years past. It is thoroughly engaging and compelling, placing his gift for strong overall architecture in a somewhat lighter setting. The piece seems to end in a climax of timpani and piano at the 10-minute mark, but then continues on for seven more minutes in a mystical coda of sparse violin, oboe and percussion over a high whining drone from an organ or synthesizer.
I certainly hope that this Macro disc reaches a large audience. Friedrich Goldmann is one of the finest composers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, and deserves to be heard alongside the other leading German composers of his time including Hans Werner Henze, Helmut Lachenmann and Wolfgang Rihm.
For more Goldmann, there are excellent discs of his symphonic and orchestral works from Hastedt and Berlin Classics (see my reviews of both), though the latter may be difficult to find...