This album is more than just extraordinary. After having won a number of prizes for his solo and chamber music CDs, the Austrian pianist Markus Schirmer has now recorded a CD with orchestra. And what an orchestra!
After being regarded as an insider tip for some years, the chamber orchestra A Far Cry has had a series of rapturously received triumphant successes and is now recognized as THE young American string orchestra of our day. Based in Boston, the ensemble has a strikingly unconventional and refreshing approach to musicmaking. All the works they perform are rehearsed in constantly changing small groups, with every player taking his or her turn as leader. There is no conductor. The “Criers”, as they call themselves, already have three CD albums to their credit and have just returned from a highly successful first European tour. The New York Times had the highest praise for this unusual collective group, making particular mention of the strong and varied personalities of its members. The young musicians’ express goal is to combine the power of the orchestral sound with the intimacy of a string quartet. Which they succeed in doing with staggering success.
Schirmer first got to know members of A Far Cry when he was on a concert tour in Germany in 2009. In the same year he accepted their invitation to come to Boston, where they performed their first Mozart concerto in the city’s venerable old Jordan Hall.
In Markus Schirmer’s own words: “The way these full-blooded young musicians work impressed me deeply and I was inspired by their commitment and enthusiasm. It was obvious to me that we had to do more together.”
The Mozart Sessions
The recordings were made in the spring of 2012 in the famous acoustic of the Jordan Hall. Sound engineer was the young Jesse Lewis, now the winner of two Grammys, sensitively assisted by the experienced classical CD producer Roger Tapping.
The CD features Mozart’s Piano Concertos no.12 in A major K 414 and no.13 in C major K 415, and the Church Sonata in C major K 336. The majority of the cadences and lead-ins are by Schirmer himself.
The collaboration between the Austrian pianist and the young US-Americans is in the truest sense of the word fresh, sensitive and highly inspired. Their unanimity in the shaping of every single phrase, their concern to find their own individual and special sound, the harmonious give-and-take between them – these things make the “Mozart Sessions” a very special CD. This is a Mozart who is full of surprises.