The Anglo-Dutch composer Gerard Schurmann, born in the East Indies in 1924 and based in the USA since 1981, first made his mark in Britain in the 1940s and '50s, as a pianist and composer, particularly of chamber music and, later, of film scores. His concert output is intense, passionate, tightly argued and charged with energy, but also infused with lyricism, as these four works demonstrate.
Lyris Quartet, string quartet
Håkan Rosengren, clarinet
Clive Greensmith, cello
Mikhail Korzhev, piano
Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano (2002)
String Quartet No. 2 (2011–12)
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Catalogue No: TOCC0220EAN/UPC: 5060113442208Release Date: 07.04.2014Composer: Gerard Schurmann Artists: Clive Greensmith,
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William Hedley :
“…The cello and piano Fantasia of 1967 is a powerful piece of writing, violent and dissonant for much of its length, yet with an underlying vein of expressive lyricism. The music is brilliantly laid out for the two instruments, and one is not surprised to read that the original title was ‘Dialogue’. After an eventful eight minutes the ending is both surprising and highly effective. …[First String Quartet of 2004:] Conway evokes allusions to Britten’s Simple Symphony in the pizzicato passages that open and close the brief scherzo, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the composer hadn’t jokingly slipped in a subtle reference to the Tchaikovsky pizzicato scherzo from the Fourth Symphony too. …There is a real trajectory to this work, almost a feeling of a musical journey. From its point of departure and as far as the welcome and inevitable sense of arrival at the end there are many beauty spots to admire, as well as quite a few dramatic events to live through. …This music is not always easy to listen to, but receptive ears will find it deeply satisfying. The performances from Clive Greensmith, Mikhail Korzhev, Håkan Rosengren and the Lyris Quartet cannot be faulted. Toccata has assembled a group of musicians who clearly believe in the music and give of their best. A delightful session photograph shows the nonagenarian composer with the Lyris Quartet. I am sure he was well pleased with what he heard. The recording is excellent.” International Record Review
Hubert Culot :
“…All testify to a remarkable musical vitality for there is nothing of an “old man’s music” in these tightly argued and beautiful pieces. Their most striking characteristic is a warm lyricism with the music displaying some wonderful singing lines as well as some well-judged more energetic episodes that include some well-needed and nicely judged contrasts. Both string quartets are wonderfully written for the medium and one might again wonder why Schurmann did not tackle the genre earlier in his career. …Written shortly before the First String Quartet, the Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano is yet another superbly crafted work displaying a wealth of melodic invention and of lively rhythms although its central movement, a Passacaglia, is somewhat more weighty without being ponderous. …Fantasia is quite gripping and held in full sway by the often impassioned interchanges between the partner instruments. One cannot but wonder why music of such quality and vitality is not heard more often. …This well-filled, superbly played and beautifully recorded disc is most welcome and is a most worthy tribute to Gerard Schurmann who is ninety this year (2014).” MusicWeb International
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