FRIEDRICH CERHA (b.1926): 5 Pieces for Clarinet, Cello and PIano (Arcus Ensemble Wien), 8 Bagatelles for Clarinet and Piano (Andreas Schablas [clarinet], Janna Polyzoides [piano]), Clarinet Quintet (Schablas [clarinet], Hugo Wolf Quartet).
Catalogue Number: 04N102
Description: These recent chamber works - all since 2000 - are some distance removed from the more aggressively avant garde works of previous decades, bearing the stamp of Cerha's early æsthetic affinity with the Second Viennese School, especially Berg, and an unselfconscious acknowledgement of even more traditional vocabularies. The Pieces are largely - not unequivocally - atonal, but with an almost neoclassical clarity, form and poise. The Bagatelles (2009) go farther still, with clear allusions to folk and Klezmer music and a playful, light touch. The Quintet combines a very classical style of interaction between the clarinet and the quartet, treated as a homogeneous ensemble, again in a strongly Bergian harmonic idiom. The four-movement form is also very traditional, but the work avoids any suggestion of pastiche despite its allusions to, or suggestions of, earlier music; it is in fact an original and convincing example, both approachable and compelling, of the composer pursuing his individual identity within the constraints of a model that interested him at the time.