Joachim Pliquett and Arvid Gast have often enthused their audiences with virtuosic playing rich in ideas, and for their newest program, Combinations, they can rely on prominent support: Klaus Mertens sings the famous “Revenge, Timotheus cries” from Handel’s Alexander’s Feast and an anonymous “Laudate Pueri” from the seventeenth century, and the trumpeter Matthias Kühnle and the trombonist András Fejér enrich this musical event centering on the historical organs in Lübeck’s Jacobikirche (Church of St. James). The Queen of Sheba has certainly never been heard entering with greater majesty there!
The core of this interestingly designed program is formed by three “church sonatas”: one an original by Petronio Franceschini and the other two adaptations from our times. Franceschini’s sonata fascinates the listener with its attractive echo effects producing a very special impact with surprising modulations from major to minor. John Gardener quite similarly plays with room acoustics in his “Sonata da chiesa” from 1976; with its Doppler effect the music even seems to move in space! Since all of this occurs on a motif from Monteverdi’s Orfeo, the relation to earlier times is reinforced all the more.
Péter Tóth’s “Sonata da chiesa” also far transcends mere formal quotation. The beginning of choral character and the animated sixteenth conclusion fill the old form with contemporary life. Boris Blacher’s “Divertimento 1946” numbers among the special “combinations” on this finely balanced Super Audio CD: in the version for trumpet, trombone, and organ it reveals an entirely different world with objectivity of rhythmic orientation. During the course of its seven movements all sorts of different instrumental combinations are heard – perfect for this extremely interesting new recording, which – in the finest 3-D reproduction – even enables us to imagine very well the shifting positions of the instruments and soloists on the lofts in the historical church space.