ALBERT SCHNELZER (b.1972): Cello Concerto “Crazy Diamond”, Tales from Suburbia, Brain Damage - Concerto for Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 07U071
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: Schnelzer studied with Sven-David Sandström and Rolf Martinsson, and these impressive, muscular scores, full of drama and emotional intensity fall firmly into the tonal, post-Sibelius Scandinavian/Nordic realm, so whether your taste is Pettersson, Tüür, Rosenberg or Sallinen you will certainly find him a valuable addition to your listening repertoire. He doesn't actually sound much like any of these composers, though, and propulsivist post-minimal episodes that recall things that John Adams and Thomas Adès has done don't define his individual voice either. He is also not averse to taking inspiration from 'popular culture' and once played in a rock band, but this is not evident in the way these pieces actually sound. The titles of the concerti and those of their movements are taken from song titles and lyrics from two albums by rock band Pink Floyd, and both works refer to the tragic history of Syd Barrett, a founding member of the group for whom the intersection of drugs and his probable innate schizophrenia led to his retirement from the band and almost complete withdrawal from the world until his death in 2006. With no reference to rock music at all, Schnelzer builds powerful symphonic canvases treating the very Romantic subjects of insanity, achievement and failure, and exile, alternating music of manic energy, monumental but unstable grandeur, and aching desolation. 'The Suburbs' as a phenomenon have entered the fields of sociology and fiction as emblems of aspiration and nightmare. Schnelzer treats these themes in vivid musical terms, depicting the demi-monde of bustling, affluent convenience, the insular "vain citadels that are not walled" designed to preserve a clean, artificial Stepford existence from contamination by the marauding barbarians of city and countryside, but with a stratified, dog-eat-dog nightmare lurking not far beneath the surface; J.G. Ballard's "High Rise" spread out horizontally. Claes Gunnarsson (cello), Gothenburg Symphony; Benjamin Shwartz.