- Concerto for piano & wind instruments
- Symphony in one Movement, for orchestra
- Lontano, for orchestra
Günter Wand, one of West Germany's most passionate advocates for contemporary music, was appointed director of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester in Cologne in 1945, and he immediately set the orchestra on a course of performing newly written music, as well as music that had been banned under the Nazis. This CD includes four modern classics (although two of them are little known in the U.S.) that Wand recorded with that orchestra and with the Norddeutscher Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester between 1960 and 1987. Wand gives Stravinsky's "Concerto for piano, winds, double bass, and kettledrums" (the 1930 version of his "Concerto for piano and wind instruments") an explosive reading, bubbling with insolence and high spirits, and pianist Nikita Magaloff contributes a comparably lively performance. Bernd Alois Zimmermann's 1953 "Symphony" in one movement is characterized by a fertility of invention, brightly colored orchestration, and an unerring sense of dramatic development that foreshadow the power of his great opera "Die Soldaten," and Wand's reading is appropriately hard edged and driven. Wolfgang Fortner's "Symphony for large orchestra" is a competent and attractive work, somewhat reminiscent of Hindemith, but at a length of almost half an hour, it overstays its welcome. Wand's performance of Ligeti's "Lontano" never dissolves into a smudge of colors -- the individual parts have a clarity and integrity that create a luminous and ethereal sound world. Wand's conducting throughout demonstrates an absolute commitment to the music's importance, demanding the same technical precision and passion from his players that he invests in these works. The recorded sound is consistently clear and spacious.