Magazine article Gramophone

Rontgen: Complete Cello Concertos

Magazine article Gramophone

Rontgen: Complete Cello Concertos

Article excerpt

Rontgen

Complete Cello Concertos

Gregor Horsch vc Netherlands Symphony

Orchestra / David Porcelijn

CPO [F] CP0777 234-2 (63' * DDD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Fourteen sonatas, three concertos and five works for solo cello show what a presence the instrument was in Julius Rontgen's musical life. It's not entirely surprising, given that cellist-composer Julius Klengel was his cousin, that he and Casals were friends and that two of Rontgen's sons became professional cellists. His three cello concertos are unfailingly warm-hearted and well-crafted.

Like so many academic late-Romantics, Rontgen is strong on control but not so much on flights of fancy. Occasional phrases do promise wondrous things but he cannot stay in that zone for more than a few seconds at a time. You can tick off the influences and affinities as they pass--Schumann, Brahms, Grieg, Borodin and Tchaikovsky are all there, as is the benchmark of Dvorak's Concerto. If you think you catch a few bars of the 'Melancholic' Temperament from Nielsen's Second Symphony in the finale of the Third Concerto, that's probably because the two composers were firm friends for many years, and Rontgen did much behind the scenes to ensure that Nielsen's music had some kind of profile in Holland. …

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