Patrick Demenga / Thomas Demenga 12 HOMMAGES A PAUL SACHER POUR VIOLONCELLE

This unique collection features compositions written to celebrate the 70th birthday, in 1976, of Paul Sacher, Swiss conductor and arts patron. Presented together on disc for the first time, the 12 pieces on this double album are effectively a landscape of modern cello music.
Each of the composers were asked to write a piece using, as a starting point, a motif of the 6 letters of Sacher’s name. New Series soloist Thomas Demenga - acclaimed for his sequence of albums juxtaposing Bach and contemporary composers - and his brother Patrick Demenga are the performers.


Nearly two decades ago, Mstislav Rostropovich asked a dozen composer-friends to write short works for him to play as part of the celebration of the 75th birthday of Paul Sacher, arguably the century's greatest patron of music. The theme, based on six notes translated from letters of the name of the honoree, was to be developed by Benjamin Britten for variations by Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, Henri Dutilleux, Alberto Ginastera, Cristobal Halffter, Witold Lutoslawski and others.
The composers, however, responded differently in terms of the form, length and, in one instance, number of musicians for their pieces, and Rostropovich never played all of them. Some were recorded by other artists; the present release is the first to offer them in a musical "bouquet," as intended.
Few listeners will want to hear the entire program in a single 83-minute sitting. But the music is for anyone who loves the Bach Cello Suites or the Kodaly solo Sonata. Despite touches of academic severity, there's tremendous variety of sound and expression, with playing of the highest order. It's a challenging collection to come to terms with before the observances of Sacher's 95th birthday next March. (August 06, 1995 / Alan G. Artner)

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