Though barely remembered now, both Salomon Jadassohn and Felix Draeseke were major figures in German musical life in the second half of the 19th century. Both began their studies at the conservative Leipzig Conservatory but after independently encountering Liszt and his work at Weimar in the 1850s both became disciples of that composer and the New German School he established. Jadassohn subsequently returned to Leipzig where he composed and had a long and distinguished teaching career, his pupils including Delius, Grieg and Busoni, while Draeseke finally ended up in Dresden teaching at the Conservatory there.
In a further paralleling of lives, both composers’ concertos were written at almost the same time—Draeseke’s sole example in 1886 and Jadassohn’s two the following year. All three are expertly crafted and feature wonderfully idiomatic piano writing, as one would expect of Liszt pupils. Stylistically they show their links both to Liszt’s single movement forms (Jadassohn 1) and also to more traditional models. While not ground-breaking these are thoroughly enjoyable examples of the genre and one must question why the Jadassohn works in particular, which have truly memorable themes, have been so completely forgotten.
We are delighted to welcome Markus Becker in his first concerto recording for Hyperion; expect more soon!