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Johann Matthias Sperger : Concertos pour contrebasse n° 2 à 4. Krigovsky, Collegium Wartberg 430.
Format : 1 SACD Hybride
Total Time : 01:09:22

Recording : 29-31/10/2021
Location : Bratislava
Country : Slovaquie
Sound : Stereo

Label : Challenge Classics
Catalog No. : CC72915
EAN : 0608917291520
Price Code : DM020B

Publishing Year : 2022
Release Date : 20/07/2022

Genre : Classical
Johann Matthias Sperger (1750-1812)
Concerto pour contrebasse n° 2 en ré majeur
Concerto pour contrebasse n° 3 en si bémol majeur
Concerto pour contrebasse n° 4 en fa majeur

Jan Krigovsky, contrebasse
Collegium Wartberg 430

La contrebasse classique est à l’honneur ces derniers temps (cf. ClicMag 100, janvier 2022) et l’on ne s’en plaindra pas, qui permet de découvrir en deçà de Bottesini un compositeur tel que Johann Matthias Sperger (1750-1812), lui-même virtuose de cet instrument. Autrichien de naissance, Bohème d’esprit et de tempérament, Sperger évolua tour à tour à Bratislava, Fidisch et à Vienne où il composa de nombreuses œuvres pour Frédéric II de Prusse ou le Tsar de Russie, qui pratiquaient eux-mêmes divers instruments. Les trois concertos pour contrebasse présentés dans cet enregistrement sont de facture classique en trois mouvements marqués de thèmes surprenants par la virtuosité de leur construction. Les mouvements impairs incluent aux cordes habituelles deux hautbois et deux cors, auxquels s’ajoutent timbales et trompettes dans le concerto en si bémol majeur. Dans le concerto en fa majeur, afin de rehausser l’esprit folklorique, le soliste a eu l’idée d’intégrer à l’orchestration un dulcimer, sorte de cithare à cordes frappées. Les mouvements centraux se signalent par leur aimable cantabile. Ján Krigovský confère à ces œuvres un charme et un éclat remarquables, bien soutenu par le Collegium Wartberg 430 qui réunit ici autour du diapason Mozart, mythique de la musique classique, dix-neuf des meilleurs instrumentistes slovaques contemporains. En tant que soliste instrumental, il fait montre ici d’une virtuosité aussi ailée qu’élégante qui contribue au charme indéniable de l’enregistrement et au plaisir de la découverte. (Jacques-Philippe Saint-Gerand)

The first question to ask must be: how could it possibly come about that certain essential works by a composer which display no flaw or failure in musical conception or compositional execution stayed dormant in libraries for well over two hundred years and had to wait so long for publication and audience attention? Three concertos for double bass and orchestra by Johann Matthias Sperger, who was not just a composer but also the most renowned double bassist of the 18th century, performed and recorded here by orchestra and soloist according to their original scores. The decision was taken here to select, from Sperger’s vast legacy of compositions – which includes no less than eighteen double bass concertos – just those early works called No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4. These works are all products of the years of Sperger’s first employment as a double bassist, between 1777 and 1783, in the court orchestra of the archbishop of Hungary, the duke Joseph Graf von Batthyány in Pressburg. They date specifically from the years 1778 and 1779. Sperger’s treatment of the solo double bass in a way quite new in his day as well as the execution of the orchestral part recall the Cello Concertos of no less a figure than Joseph Haydn. Already just the tonal range demanded here, spanning four and a half octaves, shatters all previous conceptions and lets the double bass enter those cantabile spheres once peculiar to the cello or violin. Melody and virtuosity leave nothing to be desired and demand of the soloist true mastery of his instrument. All three double bass concertos on this CD are three-movement concertos. In all of them the first and third movements are spirited, each with its respectively striking theme, and virtuosically constructed, the outer movements in all cases employing wind instruments: 2 oboes and 2 horns, and in Concerto No. 3 also kettledrums and trumpets. The great soloist’s idea of enriching the orchestral colours of Concerto No. 4 with a dulcimer must be seen to be born out of the partly folkloric quality of this music. Sperger has the slow second movements accompanied by strings alone, so as to allow the solo double bass room to develop its melodies. These movements emanate a sense of placid contemplation, forming a counterpoint to the forward-pressing vigour of the outer movements. The soloist uses gut strings, as was common practice at the time of the works’ composition well over two hundred years ago, bringing out the warm sound of the instruments. Used in this recording were: for Concerto No. 2 an Anton Posch double bass (1736, Vienna); for Concerto No. 3 one by Johann Jacobus Ertl (1789, Pressburg) and for Concerto No. 4 one of an unnamed manufacturer (ca. 1810, Vienna). The chamber orchestra Collegium Wartberg 430, led by the soloist Ján Krigovský, provides highly authentic accompaniment. To do justice to history and for the pleasure of today’s audience the present recordings were made in the same auditorium as Johann Matthias Sperger first presented these concertos in: the “Hall of Mirrors” in the Primate’s Palace of Bratislava (formerly Pressburg).

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