Caspar Kummer is a composer of unjustly little renown. Held in high esteem by his contemporaries, relatively little information can be found on his life in the leading music dictionaries of today, a fact that stands in stark contrast to his compositional excellence as well as his virtuosity as a flautist. Though Kummer rose to the position of Kapellmeister in the castle chapel of an important German duke in his later years, his creative output failed to reach a similar level of renown after his death in 1870.
The music on this collection, constructed around his favourite instrument, goes some way towards doing the composer some justice. There are a number of noticeable highlights here. Von Dir! is a fascinating attempt – on the performers’ part – at ‘making an instrument speak’: the original vocal part is interpreted by a lyrical and otherworldly clarinet, which is in constant dialogue with the complementary flute. The challenging Adagio and Variations, meanwhile, requires a mastery of the basset horn (an instrument that, interestingly, was rather out of fashion for much of Kummer’s life), pushing the instrument to the upper edge of its range. The final Trio leaves us with a suggestion of the greater stylistic variety within Kummer’s work, leaning towards the Romantic rather than the dominant Classical style of the rest of the collection.
This exploration of a relatively unknown composer is undertaken by an ensemble who are appearing here for the first time on Brilliant Classics: the Italian Classical Consort, led by multi-instrumentalist Luigi Magistrelli. Even more fittingly, they specialise in performances of the much-neglected Classical and Romantic repertoire, and they are known for their concerts and masterclasses the world over.
- A World premiere, recorded July 2012, Gallarate and Santo Stefano Ticino, Italy
- Caspar Kummer, in his time a virtuoso on several wind instruments (flute, clarinet, basset horn) left an oeuvre of surprisingly high quality and originality, in the romantic tradition of Mendelssohn, Schumann and Spohr: a discovery well worth exploring.
- Played with dedicated affection by the “discoverers” of these hidden gems: the Italian Classical Consort, led by virtuoso Luigi Magistrelli.
- Booklet contains extensive liner notes on the composer, his music and an artist biographies.