WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Herzogenberg: Variations On A Theme Of Brahms / Goldstone


Release Date: 09/12/2006 
Label:  Toccata Classics   Catalog #: 10   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Heinrich Herzogenberg
Performer:  Anthony GoldstoneCaroline Clemmow
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

In one of my earliest contributions to Fanfare (27:2), I reviewed a two-CD set of solo piano works by Schubert played by Anthony Goldstone. Though I admit to being a bit cheeky about Goldstone’s determination to record every last shred of music Schubert ever wrote, even if it meant having to complete it himself, I concluded that Goldstone had obviously lived with the music and brought to it a great deal of understanding. The present disc lends additional credence to Goldstone’s propensity for bringing to our attention music that lurks just beyond the gate of the shining citadel on the hill. And in this case, thanks be to him for it.

Heinrich von Herzogenberg (1843–1900) was exactly 10 years Brahms’s junior, an important
Read more figure in his own time, and an accepted member of Brahms’s inner circle. His output, very little of which is recorded or ever performed live, is quite extensive: eight symphonies, five string quartets, a string quintet, a pair each of piano trios and piano quartets, a quintet for winds with piano; a number of cantatas, motets, oratorios, and choral-orchestral works, among which are a mass and a requiem; and many part-songs for mixed choirs. There is also a considerable volume of pieces for piano and organ. He wrote no known concertos, and like Brahms, he eschewed opera. If today his name retains any claim to fame, it’s for his large-scale oratorio, De Geburt Christi, a complete recording of which is available on the Hänssler Classic label. Ironically, given his intimacy with Brahms, Herzogenberg’s own musical vocabulary reflects less of the great composer’s influence than does that of any number of other Brahms wannabes at the time.

Anthony Goldstone and his partner in the duo works on this disc, Caroline Clemmow, have done Herzogenberg and us an important service with this release. Four of the six headnote entries are first ever recordings. While these pieces want for nothing in terms of craftsmanship, melodic appeal, and impressive keyboard virtuosity, I find it a bit difficult to describe how they actually sound. Unmistakably, this music was incubated in the Brahms-Schumann nursery, but just as unmistakably, it does not quite resemble either parent. Not as emotionally charged or lyrically expressive as Schumann, and not as introspective, psychologically complex, or harmonically and rhythmically advanced as Brahms, Herzogenberg seems nonetheless to have forged a derivative style based on his models, yet one that manages to avoid slavish aping.

The Theme and Variations for Two Pianos, op. 13, the major work on the disc, (and one of the four items here receiving its first ever recording) is a prime example. Goldstone gives no date for the piece, but puts it on a level with Brahms’s Haydn Variations, which the Herzogenberg surely predates. Whether it is substantively comparable to the Brahms or not is arguable; but my own hearing of the piece places it closer to works like Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes and Brahms’s own Paganini Variations, which are as much demonstrations of formidable keyboard virtuosity as they are exercises in thematic development. Brahms’s Haydn Variations takes a symphonic approach to the form, which undoubtedly explains why the composer himself gave primacy to the orchestral version. Herzogenberg’s approach to the form, as to the style of writing, looks—Janus-like—both backward to Schumann and earlier Brahms and forward in a direction that hints ever so distantly at Busoni, Medtner, and Szymanowski.

This is an important addition to the catalog, and a most rewarding listen as well. Add to that excellent playing and recording for a strong recommendation.

FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Theme and Variations for 2 Pianos, Op. 13 by Heinrich Herzogenberg
Performer:  Anthony Goldstone (Piano), Caroline Clemmow (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
2.
Allotria - Book 1, Op. 33 by Heinrich Herzogenberg
Performer:  Anthony Goldstone (Piano), Caroline Clemmow (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
3.
Variations on a theme of Brahms, Op. 23 by Heinrich Herzogenberg
Performer:  Anthony Goldstone (Piano), Caroline Clemmow (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1876; Germany 
4.
Waltzes for Piano 4 hands, Op. 53 by Heinrich Herzogenberg
Performer:  Anthony Goldstone (Piano), Caroline Clemmow (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Austria 
5.
Variations on the Minuet from "Don Juan," Op. 58 by Heinrich Herzogenberg
Performer:  Anthony Goldstone (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
6.
Capriccio for Piano, Op. 107 by Heinrich Herzogenberg
Performer:  Anthony Goldstone (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 

Sound Samples

Theme and Variations, Op. 13: Theme: Langsam, innig
Theme and Variations, Op. 13: Variation 1: Bewegter
Theme and Variations, Op. 13: Variation 2: In gleichem Tempo
Theme and Variations, Op. 13: Variation 3: Ziemlich langsam
Theme and Variations, Op. 13: Variation 4: Rasch
Theme and Variations, Op. 13: Variation 5: Sehr langsam
Theme and Variations, Op. 13: Variation 6: Etwas bewegt
Theme and Variations, Op. 13: Variation 7: Langsam
Theme and Variations, Op. 13: Variation 8: Sehr rasch
Theme and Variations, Op. 13: Variation 9: Majestatisch
Allotria, Book 1, Op. 33: No. 1: Allegro
Allotria, Book 1, Op. 33: No. 2: Allegretto
Allotria, Book 1, Op. 33: No. 3: Allegro agitato
Variations on a Theme of Brahms, Op. 23: I. Andante - Adagio - Con moto - Allegro - L'istesso tempo - Poco meno mosso, ma agitato
Variations on a Theme of Brahms, Op. 23: II. Allegretto - Lento appassionato
Variations on a Theme of Brahms, Op. 23: III. Allegretto - Meno mosso
Waltzes, Op. 53: Waltz No. 1: Allegro commodo
Waltzes, Op. 53: Waltz No. 2: L'istesso tempo
Waltzes, Op. 53: Waltz No. 3: Agitato e grazioso
Waltzes, Op. 53: Waltz No. 4: Tempo I
Waltzes, Op. 53: Waltz No. 5: Poco maestoso
Waltzes, Op. 53: Waltz No. 6: L'istesso tempo
Variations on the Minuet from Mozart's Don Juan, Op. 58: Thema: Moderato
Variations on the Minuet from Mozart's Don Juan, Op. 58: Variation 1: Allegro
Variations on the Minuet from Mozart's Don Juan, Op. 58: Variation 2: Poco meno mosso
Variations on the Minuet from Mozart's Don Juan, Op. 58: Variation 3: Allegretto
Variations on the Minuet from Mozart's Don Juan, Op. 58: Variation 4: Allegro enegrico
Variations on the Minuet from Mozart's Don Juan, Op. 58: Variation 5: Andantino
Variations on the Minuet from Mozart's Don Juan, Op. 58: Variation 6: Allegro
Variations on the Minuet from Mozart's Don Juan, Op. 58: Variation 7: Scherzando
Variations on the Minuet from Mozart's Don Juan, Op. 58: Variation 8: Larghetto
Variations on the Minuet from Mozart's Don Juan, Op. 58: Variation 9: Vivace
Variations on the Minuet from Mozart's Don Juan, Op. 58: Variation 10: Largo
Variations on the Minuet from Mozart's Don Juan, Op. 58: Variation 11: Poco adagio
Capriccio, Op. 107: I. Grazioso
Capriccio, Op. 107: II. Allegretto
Capriccio, Op. 107: III. Andante
Capriccio, Op. 107: IV. Vivace
Capriccio, Op. 107: V. Agitato
Capriccio, Op. 107: VI. Moderato

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN - TRY IT FREE!
Listen to all your favorite classical music for only $20/month.
Sign up for your monthly subscription service and get unlimited access to the most comprehensive digital catalog of classical music in the world - new releases. bestsellers, advanced releases and more.
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In