Magazine article Gramophone

Pfitzner: 'The Romantic Cello Concerto, Vol 4'

Magazine article Gramophone

Pfitzner: 'The Romantic Cello Concerto, Vol 4'

Article excerpt

Pfitzner

'The Romantic Cello Concerto, Vol 4'

Cello Concertos--Op 42; Op 52; Op posth.

Duo, Op 43 (a)

Alban Gerhardt vc with (a) Gergana Gergova vn

Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra / Sebastian Weigle

Hyperion [F] CDA67906 (68' * DDD)

Though billed as the Fourth volume of Hyperion's 'The Romantic Cello Concerto', most of the music on this disc was written during the 1930s and '40s. Hans Pfitzner, notoriously, was a Nazi-sympathising conservative. But that doesn't mean he was simply writing 19th-century music in the middle of the 20th century. The earliest and most fascinating composition here, a cello concerto dating from 1889 when he was a 19-year-old student, starts like a pious exercise in Schumannesque rumination but takes in startling and richly orchestrated outbursts evoking Wagner's Venusberg; a reminder that Pfitzner's finest hours would be in the opera house, with the 'musical legend' Palestrina (1912-15), and that he would eventually offer the kind of quirky angles on full-blown Romanticism that were only possible in retrospect. …

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