Hyperion Records

Cello Concerto in A minor, Op 52
The Cello Concerto in A minor, Op 52, is dedicated to Ludwig Hoelscher (1907–1996), a pupil of two giants of German cello-playing: Hugo Becker and Julius Klengel. It was completed in 1943 and published in 1944. A note at the front of the score quotes the main theme of the 1888 Cello Concerto beneath which Pfitzner has written:

In this Cello Concerto Op 52 there is woven a melody which was the main theme of a Cello Concerto written during my time at the Conservatory. This youthful work has never been performed … but the main theme seems to me worthy to be rescued from oblivion. I have used it in some parts of this work from my old age as a salute to my youth.

The Op 52 Cello Concerto uses a modestly proportioned classical orchestra (double wind, four horns, two trumpets, timpani, percussion, harp and strings) and is cast in four movements. The first, marked Ruhig (‘Peaceful’), is in gently flowing triple time, while the second (Nicht zu schnell—‘Not too fast’) is a spiky duple-time scherzo. A moto perpetuo launched by the soloist soon gives way to a a delightful rollicking tune (beginning as a descending major scale) that sounds as if it could have escaped from an operetta. The third movement, Feierlich (‘Solemn’), is short but most eloquent, and the finale is an Allegretto in the style of a jig, dominated by a rather jaunty theme.

from notes by Nigel Simeone © 2014

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