As is well known, the Third Reich drove many of its gifted composers into exile, to early deaths or to the concentration camps. But a significant responsibility devolved on another group, who became ‘internal exiles’, remaining in Germany, but refusing to become cultural ornaments of the Nazi regime. Karl Amadeus Hartmann (1905–1963), in Bavaria, consistently kept the spirit of modernism and human commitment alive in his own work.
However, the rise of the Nazis gave his music deeper resonances of anger and lamentation. Concerto funebre was composed during the outbreak of World War II. It is an extraordinary work, inspired initially by Hartmann’s feelings about the Nazi annexation of Czechoslovakia, containing conflicting messages of hope, desperation and foreboding at the times ahead. The solo violin line is at once a mournful commentary and a prophetic cry.
This generously filled disc also contains all Hartmann’s works for solo violin. These sonatas and suites are fiercely difficult, conceived on a grand scale, and recall the majesty and breadth of J S Bach’s solo violin works.
Making her recording debut for Hyperion in this disc of important repertoire is the spectacular young Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova (b1985). Alina’s many concert appearances throughout Europe have earned her the highest praise, and, as Richard Morrison wrote in The Times, she is ‘destined to be a force in the classical music firmament for decades to come … you feel that you are getting the music straight from the composer’s quill’.