Istvan Anhalt: the timber of those times
Format: Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: August 16, 2019
Istvan Anhalt (1919-2012) was a leading figure in avant-garde composition during the second half of the twentieth century in Canada. Born into an assimilated Jewish family in Budapest after World War I, he emigrated to France in 1946, then settled in Canada in 1949. Though trained and educated in pre-war Budapest and post-war Paris, Anhalt wrote all of his major works in Canada. He employed various modernist compositional techniques, making use of dodecaphony and extended vocal techniques. He also worked in various media including traditional scores for orchestra and electronic music.Many of his most significant compositions are for orchestra, but he wrote in all of the major genres, from solo instrumental works to opera. From the mid-1970s onwards, he employed compositional methods of a more traditional nature, from which he fashioned an original, distinctive, and evocative idiom that was capable of expressing both musical logic and extra-musical ideas.
Anhalt’s entire output as a composer is not large, having only completed about three dozen works over a the 60 year span from 1947 to 2007. The present recording of Anhalt’s last two orchestral works, launched on the occasion of the centennial of the composer’s birth, marks the beginning of an ongoing project by the conductor Ajtony Csaba to create professional commercial recordings of recent Canadian orchestral repertoire. Anhalt’s stature as “the heavyweight among Canadian composers” (as Udo Kasemets wrote in 1975), the high quality of his mature compositions, and a significant and growing body of scholarly work on his music, all suggest that he will retain his place as an important voice in Canadian composition of his era. This recording includes Anhalt’s two final orchestral works. The penultimate work, …the timber of those times… (…a theogony…), and Four Portraits from Memory.
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