Homage à Paris
French clarinet repertoire

The music is like a fine Chardonnay Dirk Altmann presents with his congenially shaping Japanese pianist these delicacies and makes the CD a feast of the senses.

Dieter Steppuhn

03/2016, Rohrblatt

Details

Label: EigenArt 1052-0 CD (2016)
Homage à Paris
Mako Okamoto, piano
Gesa Jenne, violin
Anne-Maria Hölscher, accordion
Ryutaro Hei, double bass
Aufnahme: 6. – 8.3. 2016 Bügerhaus Backnang
Recording and Producer: Andreas Spreer für Eigenart by TACET
Piano support: Dietmar Heumann
Instruments: JOSEF MK 11, Okinawa – Lighaphone, Paris,
Steinway&Sons

Altmann’s depth of expression is always remarkable, as is the versatility of his tone. The particularly delicate tonality of French music, this very peculiar combination of musical refinement and tonal magic, is wonderfully captured here.
Guido Krawinkel

Klassik heute 9|9|9

Recording highlights

Thank you …

It was a great pleasure to work with my colleagues Gesa Jenne and Ryutaro Hei, as well as my long-time chamber music partner Anne-Maria Hölscher. My unreserved admiration goes to Mako Okamoto, how she managed this huge programme with her sovereign composure. THANKS also to Andreas Spreer, who not only has the ideal equipment with his microphone darlings, but also the necessary empathy and reliable musical ears. And without the technical and tonal skills of my long-time piano doctor Dietmar Heumann, many pianistic nuances would not have been heard.

Thoughts …

And then! Another recording of Francis Poulenc’s Clarinet Sonata?!

The remorse was great to record this so strained work as well. After having largely avoided it since my student days, the collaboration with the conductor Georges Prêtre and his unreserved respect for the man and composer Francis Poulenc made me think anew about his work. Why does one not accept the deeply religious feelings and the fear of loneliness of a man who was ostracised by his rich family and who could not create a private retreat for himself because of his intolerable homosexual inclination? The Clarinet Sonata has many links to Poulenc’s operas Dialogues des Carmélites and La voix humaine. If one dispenses with the irony that is repeatedly invoked and the closeness to jazz, perhaps due to the posthumous premiere by Benny Goodman and Leonard Bernstein, what remains is very touching music, reminiscent of Schubert in its melancholy simplicity (Romance) and gruelling in its hopelessness (Allegro tristamente), which finds its abrupt end in a dance with the devil. /Dirk Altmann

Excerpts from the booklet (full booklet see above…)Excerpts from the booklet (full booklet see above…)

The first spark for this CD probably ignited when I left the Gare de l’Est for the first time as a fourteen-year-old schoolboy and entered Paris at daybreak. The summer morning sun shrouded the newly cleaned streets in an expectant light and the first cafés opened their doors. The sounds were still transparent and the smells connected the beginning of the day with the previous night. These first explorations were soon followed by musical experiences…The first spark for this CD probably ignited when I left the Gare de l’Est for the first time as a fourteen-year-old schoolboy and entered Paris at daybreak. The summer morning sun shrouded the newly cleaned streets in an expectant light and the first cafés opened their doors. The sounds were still transparent and the smells connected the beginning of the day with the previous night. These first explorations were soon followed by musical experiences…

Now the situation of a clarinettist is special – after all, the world is divided into followers of the German or the French clarinet. And indeed, the respective system also influences the corresponding repertoire. With the expansion of my instrumental spectrum to both systems, my interest in French works beyond Debussy and Poulenc also increased…Now the situation of a clarinettist is special – after all, the world is divided into followers of the German or the French clarinet. And indeed, the respective system also influences the corresponding repertoire. With the expansion of my instrumental spectrum to both systems, my interest in French works beyond Debussy and Poulenc also increased…

The clarinet reached its full flowering in the Romantic period. For the innovators around Claude Debussy, this instrumental sound probably seemed too occupied by Schumann and Brahms, and so the number of outstanding compositions for clarinet and piano is very manageable. The composer, oboist and conductor Heinz Holliger then drew my attention to Charles Koechlin. My delight and fascination with the “sound alchemist” Koechlin, probably the most important French composer of the first half of the 20th century along with Debussy and Ravel, was so great that I recorded his œuvre for clarinet on CD (hänsslerClassic 98.446). Thanks to Otfried Nies, the tireless director of the Koechlin Archive in Kassel (Germany!), I am able to present on this CD music by this great composer that has not yet been released…The clarinet reached its full flowering in the Romantic period. For the innovators around Claude Debussy, this instrumental sound probably seemed too occupied by Schumann and Brahms, and so the number of outstanding compositions for clarinet and piano is very manageable. The composer, oboist and conductor Heinz Holliger then drew my attention to Charles Koechlin. My delight and fascination with the “sound alchemist” Koechlin, probably the most important French composer of the first half of the 20th century along with Debussy and Ravel, was so great that I recorded his œuvre for clarinet on CD (hänsslerClassic 98.446). Thanks to Otfried Nies, the tireless director of the Koechlin Archive in Kassel (Germany!), I am able to present on this CD music by this great composer that has not yet been released…

And then! Another recording of Francis Poulenc’s Clarinet Sonata?!

The remorse was great to record this so strained work as well. After having largely avoided it since my student days, the collaboration with the conductor Georges Prêtre and his unreserved respect for the man and composer Francis Poulenc made me think anew about his work. Why does one not accept the deeply religious feelings and the fear of loneliness of a man who was ostracised by his rich family and who could not create a private retreat for himself because of his intolerable homosexual inclination? The Clarinet Sonata has many links to Poulenc’s operas Dialogues des Carmélites and La voix humaine. If one dispenses with the irony that is repeatedly invoked and the closeness to jazz, perhaps due to the posthumous premiere by Benny Goodman and Leonard Bernstein, what remains is very touching music, reminiscent of Schubert in its melancholy simplicity (Romance) and gruelling in its hopelessness (Allegro tristamente), which finds its abrupt end in a dance with the devil. /Dirk Altmann

Aoyama music award

2024/ March 02.

15:30
Barocksaal Kyoto, Japan

My pianist Prof. Mako Okamoto and I received the Aoyama Music Award for our concert with the programme "Traumgekrönt" on 18 March 2023. The award ceremony will also take place on 2 March 2024 in the Kyoto Baroque Hall.
Many thanks to Laura-Erika Nakamura from Josef Woodwind Manufacture, who took great care of the concert organisation.
The Aoyama Music Award is a prestigious Japanese music prize that is awarded once a year. The winners are honoured for their achievements and their potential for the further development of music.
The prize is endowed with JPY 2,000,000.

September/29 Concert Chișinău

Weber clarinet concerto no. 1

2023/ September 29. 18:00 Palatul Republicii Chișinău, Moldova
At the end of September, I will hand over an oboe as a donation from the SWR Symphony Orchestra to the Philharmonic Orchestra in Chișinău, Republic of Moldova. As a musical greeting, I will perform the Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F minor by C. M. von Weber with the orchestra at its season opening.

Mountain City Summer 2023

Festival Bergstadtsommer

2023/ September 02. - 09.
Sankt Georgen im Schwarzwald

This year, my long-time chamber music partner Gen Yokosaka (cello) is expected at the Bergstadt Summer. In addition to works by Elgar and Dvorak at the orchestra concert, we will play some of my arrangements of Johann Strauss, Leos Weiner and Kurt Weil at the opening concert. We have invited Susanne Zagar-Swiridoff as a current composer.

Traumgekrönt in Kyoto

Recital with Mako Okamoto, Piano

2023/ March 18. 17:00 Barocksaal Kyoto, Japan
My romance journey begins in the nice Barocksaal in Kyoto

Donaueschinger Musiktage 2023

Figaro with Kyogen Theater

10.03. Osaka12.03. Tokyo

 

With my Swiss wind colleagues, the KlangArt Ensemble, we are part of a performance of “La nozze de figaro”, which includes four different Japanese and German art forms.