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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67544
Recording details: December 2004
Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: September 2005
Total duration: 24 minutes 9 seconds

'It would be difficult to find a more enticing choice of repertory for the first volume in Hyperion's enterprising Romantic Cello Concerto series than the three sumptuous late 19th-century compositions on offer here … Gerhardt's warmly recorded performance lays claim to being the most convincing of all [previous recordings], not least for the passion and sensitivity of his playing as well as the committed contribution of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Carlos Kalmar' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Alban Gerhardt is the superb soloist in the lovely Dohnányi piece, and he introduces the no less impressive concerto by d'Albert and Enescu's early Symphonie concertante' (The Independent)

'Gerhardt's playing, with its richly hued tone, gets right to the heart of this music and brilliantly ignites the fireworks that the Enescu and d'Albert pieces have up their sleeves' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Alban Gerhardt's light-fingered and forward-moving (but never pushy) performances—elegant in tone, eloquent in phrasing, deft in rhythm—stand out for their freshness and their evident enthusiasm for the music. Orchestral support and engineering are both excellent, and Martin Anderson's notes are a pleasure to read. An auspicious release' (International Record Review)

'Enescu's Symphonie Concertante predictably provides sturdier pleasure, with its unstoppable torrents of cello song, intermittent Romanian colouring, and music of symphonic fibre' (The Times)

'As one has come to expect of him, the cellist Alban Gerhardt has delivered this CD of little-known repertory with consummate virtuosity and style. But it's not just technical élan that marks out his playing, for the lyrical and unswervingly Romantic melodic material of the Dohnányi is captivatingly sculpted with full-blooded intensity. Add to that a remarkably clear recording together with an excellent and sensitive orchestral partnership, and the discs seems self-recommending' (The Strad)

'The lush lyricism and engaging virtuosity of the idiomatic solo writing is graced by a quite superb soloist of whom I hope we shall be hearing much more' (Classic FM Magazine)

Konzertstück in D major, Op 12
composer
1903/4

Adagio  [6'32]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Erno´´ Dohnányi (he later Germanized his name, and added an aristocratic particle, as Ernst von Dohnányi) was born in Pozsony (now Bratislava) in 1877 and showed exceptional musicality as a child; his career as one of the leading pianists on the international circuit was launched by a performance of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto in London in 1898. Three years earlier Brahms had applauded Dohnányi’s Op 1, a piano quintet, and from then on his composing and his performing wrestled for room in his busy life. After teaching at the Berlin Hochschule from 1905, in 1915 he returned to Budapest, where his tireless activity as performer, composer and administrator laid the ground for the generation to follow, chief among them Bartók and Kodály, who would find a genuine Hungarian voice in music.

Dohnányi’s own compositions, though, speak the koine of Brahmsian, classicizing Romanticism, as his D major Konzertstück, Op 12, of 1903–4 illustrates. Dohnányi grew up with the sound of the cello in his ears – his father was an excellent amateur cellist – and his writing for the instrument is grateful and assured. In a single, half-hour span of music, the Konzertstück manages to be both an integrated one-movement structure and to hint at the bones of symphonic form. The opening Allegro non troppo begins with a rocking figure in the orchestra and a melodic shape from the cello – four rising crotchets and three rising quavers, much expanded and exploited in the development which follows. The music slips into D minor for a pensive central Adagio, where the rocking figure from the outset often features in the orchestral accompaniment. The cello falls silent for a brief, sudden, tonally restless outburst (quasi-scherzo?) which is reined back equally suddenly, to allow the soloist to emerge with a restatement of the opening material, which is soon invested with an emotional urgency that suggests an acquaintance with Mahler’s music; a brief cadenza brings in an Adagio passage during which the cello muses in rocking arpeggios, and again the opening material returns, Tempo I, ma molto più tranquillo, to lay the piece to rest.

from notes by Martin Anderson © 2005

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