Death and Waltzes is a recording of music for string orchestra by German-American composer Tom Schnauber, performed by the dynamic and adventurous Russian String Orchestra, Moscow, led by its redoubtable Music Director, Misha Rachlevsky,
The recording features nine works all linked by themes suggested in the CD’s title. Some of the works are single-movement “in memorium”-type pieces. Three are in fond and sometimes aching memory of other musicians: the vivacious, witty, and brilliant violinist and conductor Henri Temianka; the gifted and underplayed composer Leroy Southers; and Schnauber's first musical "hero", J.S. Bach. Another is in memory of the composer’s father, who died during the early stages of making this CD.
Of the remaining works, two are dances; mysterious and off-kilter waltzes of sorts, reflections of Schnauber’s Alpine heritage and two left feet. The other two are stories told in music whose narratives involve both dancing and dying. They invoke experiences by the composer's fictional "alter ego", renowned musicologist Johannes von Märland (b.1890 [sic]). This character's adventures with zombies, jigs in fields of heather, and tunes lost in the woods have inspired the colors and forms of these textless works. See Video. See also the interview with Schnauber about this album on Performing Arts Review.
Music to Hear. Number 9 in Joseph Summer's "The Shakespeare Concert Series."
Featuring Tom Schnauber's Scorn Not the Sonnet (Wordsworth) for voice and piano; Cannikin Clink (Shakespeare) for voice and cello;
and Sister's Weird (witches' incantation from Macbeth) for three voices and string quartet.
Also music by Joseph Summer, Howard Frazin, and Binna Kim.