Reviews

GMCD 7154 – Bassoon & Piano Sonatas by Anton Liste

William Waterhouse – Bassoon, William Fong – Piano

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TIBIA HEFT 2/2000

1994 erschien in der Universal Fagott Edition die von William Waterhouse besorgte Neuausgabe der ca. 1811 entstandenen Fagottsonate des in Hildesheim geborenen Wahl-Schweizers Anton Liste (1772-1832), der als Dirigent, Komponist und Klavierlehrer das Züricher Musikleben durch Aufführungen der klassischen Trias Haydn, Mozart und Beethoven maßgeblich beeinflusste. Nach der editorischen Wiederentdeckung legt Waterhouse, Grandseigneur des Fagotts und einzigartiger Promotor seines Repertoires, nun seine klingende Interpretation vor und beweist ein weiteres Mal sein großes bläserisches Können und eine aufführungs-praktisch-interpretatorische Kompetenz, die ihresgleichen sucht. Wird einerseits der große Bogen und kontrastreiche Tonfall der ausladenden klassisch-romantischen Grande Sonate pour le Piano Forte avec Accompagnement du Basson ou Violon-celle obligé im Zusammenspiel mit dem virtuosen Klavierpartner William Fong bestens getroffen, so fasziniert andererseits besonders die klangliche und agogische Gestaltung der espressiven Details. Waterhouse spielt voller Ausdruck und Charakter: zupackend, sprechend, singend, seufzend und so emotional durchglüht, dass manche kleinen Klang- und Intonationstrübungen kaum ins Gewicht fallen. Deutlichkeit und Expressivität, Hauptmerkmale des schönen Vortrags, konvergieren hier mit einer brillanten Leichtigkeit des Staccato und einer klanglichen Differenzierung, die den charakteristischen Wechsel von Licht und Schatten, Zugriff und Zurücknahme in Listes Sonate bestens zum Ausdruck bringt. Ganz besonders anrührend wirkt die innige Gesangsszene des zweiten Satzes mit dem wunderschönen senza-misura-Rezitativ des Fagotts über geheimnisvollen Tremoli des Klaviers – Rubato-Insel und Herzstück des Werkes, in das Waterhouse sein ganzes großes Fagottistenherz legt. Den nicht sonderlich originellen Schluss-Satz Allegro molto vivace allenfalls könnte man sich etwas tänzerischer, bewegter, schneller (und stellenweise besser ausgegriffen) vorstellen, manche Abweichungen vom Notentext (Takt 79 im ersten Satz) sowie sparsame Artikulations- und Verzierungsnuancen erscheinen als legitime Interpretenentscheidung. Nicht immer geglückt ist die Schnitttechnik (Klaviereinsatz T. 139 im ersten Satz bei insgesamt transparentem Aufnahmebild, das ebenso für die brillante Wiedergabe der Klaviersonaten sorgt wie für die ausgewogene Klangbalance zwischen Fagott und Klavier.

Waterhouse und Fong gilt Dank für eine überaus empfehlenswerte Einspielung, von der man viel lernen kann und die zur Verbreitung des lange vergessenen Werks einer originellen Komponistengestalt des frühen 19. Jahrhunderts ebenso beitragen mag wie die bislang erschienenen Editionen.
Wolfgang Rüdiger


MEMPHIS, SUNDAY, MAY 9, 1999

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Anton Liste earns not a word in Grove’s so even devotees of classical music may be forgiven if this first recording of any of his compositions surprise – and a delight. Liste (1772 – 1832) was a German who lived after 1804 in Zurich and was central to the musical life of the city. His bassoon Sonata Op. 3 and piano Sonata in E flat and G (recorded by Guild Music, a small Channel Island label distributed in USA by Qualiton) reveals a composer not merely attentive to the tenor of the early Romantic period but capable to invention complexity and intense feeling. Based only on the engaging Bassoon Sonata, I would have called this album charming and enjoyable, but the Piano Sonata in E flat is a composition of a different order, a work of major importance not just because of ist scope and duration, almost 29 minutes, but because its variety of attitudes, ist lovely melodic lines and harmonic densities go beyond Liste’s obvious model, Beethoven, to create something that prophesies Schubert. The single movement Piano Sonata in G, set in the usual structure Adagio-Allegro vivace, is equally graceful and fervent. Bassoonist William Waterhouse has championed Liste for 40 years, he and pianist William Fong make this album and occasion of affection and recovery
Frederic Koeppel


INTERNATIONAL DOUBLE REED SOCIETY VOLUME 22 No.1 March 1999 Idaho

Anton Liste, who was born in Hildesheim Germany, was primarily active as a composer in Switzerland. Following his death in 1832 he was virtuallz forgotten. This is actually the first recording of his music, which was made possible with financial assistance from the Czslaw Marek foundation administered by the Zentralbibliothek, Zurich Switzerland.
Of the Opus 3 Bassoon sonata, bassoonist William Waterhouse, who rediscovered the work in 1950, has written the following description:
“This work is remarkable for ist time as being a sonata conceived as a true duo for two equal partners. In this respect it is comparable to Beethoven’s Sonatas op.5 for cello (1796) there are several features of striking originality. In the working-out section of the first movement the main theme is subjected to successive transformations. In the last of these, marked con espressione, the rhapsodic solo line is accompanied by swirling arpeggios in the piano. The central section of the slow movement, marked Grave senza Tempo, dispenses with barlines altogether. Here the Bassoon rhapsodises in free recitative on a minor version of the theme to a mysterious accompaniment consisting of tremolo chords. The only documented performance of the work is tat given by Liste in Strasbourg in 1822 with the bassoonist. Theobald von Hurt (1793-1858) who subsequently became a member of the Viennese Court Orchestra in 1840″
I recommend this CD very strongly to you. It is a rare opportunity to hear the masterly artistry of William Waterhouse , whose recordings are, sadly, too few, especially as a soloist. No other bassoonist in the world plays like Bill. His phrasing ability, ease of performance, style, and fabulous technique make him a “bassoonist’s bassoonist”. I have often felt that few bassoonists can match Bill for control of dynamics and for playing the phrese with an incredible sense of “rightness” about it! It seems the harder the music is technically, the more relaxed his playing becomes, reserving the “labor” for remarkably varied nuance in each musical phrase. His tone is light, yet always projecting, and in this recording the Liste work provides a particularly full accompaniment to balance against. And yet the bassoon is never covered or overpowered even in the loudest passages. Besides the Bassoon sonata, the other two Piano sonatas in E flat and G major) are also intresting works. But get this CD for the bassoon work and the bassoon playing by one of the unique bassoonists of our time.(For those interested in this nice, rare, romantic work the Bassoon sonata is published by Universal Editions, edited by Bill Waterhouse.)

Rating :3 Crows


From Records International CD Catalog 279 – February 1999

Here in the “Find of the Month” that rare composer whom, when first hearing him and not knowing who he is, one identifies as Beethoven. But what? A newly-discovered manuscript? Well, Liste is a completely forgotten German who made his name in Switzerland, knew Weber, may have studied with Mozart and Knew’ how to write strikingly attention-grabbing music with ist roots in late classicism and one foot in the early Romantic era. The bassoon sonata is probably the latest of the works, 33 minutes long (!) it’s use of successive transformation of themes in the first movement, the dispensing of bar-lines in the slow movement recitative and ist jolly rondo finale bespeak a master composer. The two piano sonata are no less fine, the G major in an unusual one-movement form and both sounding like middle period Beethoven- serious music composed with rigor spirit and skill.