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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67906
Recording details: June 2012
Haus des Rundfunks, Berlin, Germany
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon & Dave Rowell
Release date: March 2014
Total duration: 11 minutes 52 seconds

'The earliest and most fascinating composition here, a cello concerto dating from 1889 when Pfitzner 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 … When he returned to the cello concerto genre in 1935 it was with music of unusual concision, making his typically unsettling mixture of restraint and flamboyance even more effective than usual … The Hyperion team provide a characterful recording, close to the music’s generally expansive sonorities without obscuring its many distinctive details. Alban Gerhardt is an unfailingly charismatic soloist, finding a sense of purpose where others might lapse into aimlessness, and the orchestral support is first-rate' (Gramophone) » More

'The three Cello Concertos … reveal a warmer, more human side to Pfitzner’s character. It’s evident not least in the late A minor Concerto (1943). In this piece, the 74-year-old composer, ill, bereaved and bombed-out, nostalgically recalled the rhapsodic A minor Concerto that he’d written as a student 53 years earlier and believed lost (it was rediscovered in 1975), while basing the slow movement on a 1923 song beginning ‘My end is drawing nigh’. Like the concise, single-span G major Concerto (1935), its rapturous cantilena all organically derived from its opening cello theme, the late A minor offers a sometimes bizarre mix of the lyrical and the whimsical. Gerhardt holds it all together with his sustained singing lines, while Weigle and his Berlin band provide vividly pointillist backing (BBC Music Magazine) » More
PERFORMANCE
RECORDING

'Gerhardt und das Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin unter Sebastian Weigle haben zu einer in sich durchaus stimmigen Interpretation gefunden … ein echter Hinhörer ist das Duo op. 43 für Violine, Cello und kleines Orchester … diese ist wirklich gut geglückt … das passt zu dem schwärmerischen, fantasievollen und weit ausgesponnenen Dialog, der streckenweise an ein Liebesduett erinnert' (NDR, Germany)

Duo, Op 43
composer
1937; for violin, cello and small orchestra; dedicated to Max Strub and Ludwig Hoelscher

Moderato –  [1'50]
Ganze Takte  [4'23]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In 1937, Pfitzner composed his Duo, Op 43, for violin, cello and small orchestra, dedicating it to the violinist Max Strub and cellist Ludwig Hoelscher. It is a single movement in three distinct sections: the first is a stern and serious Allegro moderato; this is followed by a slow section, much of it in recitative-like dialogue between the two soloists; and finally the music turns to A major for the closing section, moderately fast, in triple time. This is a work with moments of great charm, even if it doesn’t quite match the memorable character of the cello concertos.

from notes by Nigel Simeone © 2014

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