Time Zones: Satie, Scheidt

Lautten Compagney, Wolfgang Katschner
deutsche harmonia mundi 1 94398 07952 3

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The wonderfully energetic accounts of the instrumental music of Samuel Scheidt as well as some of his sacred music in instrumental performances are well worth buying this CD for. The very conscious scoring of this music provides a huge number of different timbres and textures from a large consort of wind string and percussion instruments, and while some might doubt whether this degree of processing ever happened in Scheidt’s lifetime, the results are compelling and delightful. The pairing of these performances with the quirky, haunting and slightly weird music of Erik Satie may seem eccentric, and indeed it is. A saxophone is added to the pantheon of early instruments to create equally heavily processed accounts of what in most cases were piano pieces. Due to these clever arrangements by Bo Wiget, these too are constantly intriguing, while the excellent musicianship of the members of Lautten Compagney ensures that they are all utterly convincing. Once the programme gets underway, the juxtaposition of Scheidt and Satie, particularly the former’s motets and the latter’s Pièces Froides, is genuinely uncanny. However, I am not sure that it is a juxtaposition that throws any additional light on either repertoire, and tempting as it is to do something just because it is possible, the eccentricity of mastering 17th-century instruments so completely that you can play 20th-century repertoire seems something of a non sequitur. I don’t want to sound a HIP bore, and this CD is a lot of fun, and all of the arrangements and performances are stunningly effective.

D. James Ross

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