I discovered Charles Koechlin through Antal Dorati's (still impressive) recording of "Les Bandar -Log" (the "ape"-scherzo from Jungle Book. ) Somewhere in the eighties David Zinman performed Jungle Book, complete, in Rotterdam - I'm fascinated by this wonderful composer since then.
The sheer lenght and scope of some of his compositions is intimidating. Bruckner...Mahler ...??
One needs patience and concentration. The more ambitious works ( Quintet op 80, Le docteur Fabricius, Les heures Persanes,Le buisson ardent, the symphonies..) last all between 45 and 65 mins. Slow movements are often ( Messiaen-like) meditations , fast ones are replete with unexpected, harrowing accents.
I quote from the linernotes of an OOP Cybelia CD ( pianoquintet, Quintette Primavera for flute, harp,violin, alto & cello) :
...the quintet draws inspiration from an idea close to the composer's heart : that of rebirth after adversity, of triumph of life and joy over pain. This theme would be dealt with later in, notably, a number of vast symphonic compositions ( second symphony, Le docteur Fabricius, Le buisson ardent..). its permanence in Koechlin's inspiration bears witness to a profoundly romantic way of thinking even if it uses "modern" means of expression. Furthermore, the optimism of the luminous and joyful endings should not make one overlook the importance attributed by the composer to the more sombre sections....For thios optimist not is all light: disquiet and doubt have a far from neglegible place in his inspiration. The background ( of the quintet) is Nature. With Koechlin the theme of Nature is omnipresent and has an essentialy dynamic role. For him Nature is not a source of nostalgia. At its contact, Man finds serenity and feels renewal of strenght....
- "Les heures Persan,es" op. 65 ( after Pierre Loti "Vers Ispahan") 16 pieces ( piano version and orchestral version) . If music can be a drug, than this is very pure and intoxicating material.
- the early Ballade for piano and orchestra ( exists also in a pianosolo version) : almost German in its somber, mysterious character
-Offrande musicale sur le nom de Bach op. 187 ( difficult to find CD Edition Michael Frauenlob Bauer 019) Frankfurt RSO/ Juan Pablo Izquierdo
Scored for large orchestra with solo organ, piano and ondes Martenot ( but the sections are scored very differently - from organ or pianosolo, to stringquintet or flute and two violins....) Only the Finale ( Sonore, Triomphal) is for full orchestra .
I have a few works of chamber music : l'Album de Lilian ( with soprano, flutes, piano or harpsichord and ondes Martenot) op 139 and 149
Stèle funéraire for 3 flutes, Monodies for ondes Martnot
A short ( 2 mins) but jubilant Chant de la Résurrection for trumpets and organ
Holliger's work for Hänssler /SWR is priceless: polished and well rehearsed performances of very difficult music. Let's hope he will do the symphonies aswell - possibly some of the very early Biblical scenes /cantatas ....
I'll come back later to this composer! Now back to work...