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Hyperion Records

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The Burst Tower of Heidelberg Castle (1830) by Carl Blechen (1798-1840)
Track(s) taken from CDD22076
Recording details: January 1988
Concordia College, Bronxville, New York, USA
Produced by Ward Botsford
Engineered by Frank D Laico
Release date: March 2011
Total duration: 28 minutes 16 seconds

'[The sonatas] require a player with the fleetest of fingers, as well as an interpretative spirit that responds fully to the often flighty romanticism of Weber’s piano writing. Garrick Ohlsson meets these requirements in good measure, and his 1988 recordings, originally issued on Arabesque, make an attractive proposition in Hyperion’s two for the price of one reissue' (The Irish Times)

Piano Sonata No 4 in E minor, J287 Op 70
1819 to 1822; dedicated to the critic J F Rochlitz

Moderato  [12'46]
Prestissimo  [4'16]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Piano Sonata No 4 in E minor Op 70 was produced in 1822 after a three-year gestation period. Weber was thirty-six and smarting from a bad performance of his incidental music to Wolff’s Preciosa. Benedict claimed that: ‘The first movement, according to Weber’s own ideas, portrays in mournful strains the state of a sufferer from fixed melancholy and despondency, with occasional glimpses of hope which are, however, always darkened and crushed. The second movement describes an outburst of rage and insanity; the Andante in C is of a consolatory nature and fitly expresses the partly successful entreaties of friendship and affection endeavouring to calm the patient, though there is an undercurrent of agitation and evil augury. The last movement, a wild, fantastic tarantella, with only a few snatches of melody, finishes in exhaustion and death.’ Schubert seems more the model here than Beethoven, which may account for the work’s subtleties and lieder-like delicacy of expression. But Weber’s use of motifs rather than long-spun melodies and the restrained economy of the pianism involved evince greater expressive mastery and control than before. The Sonata is dedicated to J F Rochlitz, a critic who had praised the two preceding sonatas.

from notes by Frank Cooper © 2011

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