Notes and Editorial Reviews
Ernst Toch's 1928 Violin Sonata opens this new Naxos collection of the composer's chamber music. The rather dissonant piece spends a good bit of its time on the fringes of atonality (especially the angular first movement) but then softens its harmonic contours a bit for the finale, which is a brisk gallop in the style of Shostakovich. The earlier (1923) Burlesken for Piano, a suite of comical dances, makes for less challenging listening, while Three Impromptus for Cello, composed just a year before Toch's death in 1964, captivates through masterful cello writing, as well as emotional expressiveness.
Toch composed the Quintet upon his arrival in the United States in 1938, and what comes through forcefully is the sense of his
nostalgia for the world he left behind as he brilliantly marries Brahmsian compositional style to 20th-century tonal language. The movement titles go straight to the heart of the matter: The Lyrical Part, The Whimsical Part, The Contemplative Part, and The Dramatic Part, with the Contemplative slow movement being the most firmly rooted in the 20th century, reaching a Berg-style expressiveness. Spectrum Concerts Berlin provides committed and powerfully rendered performances, all captured in first-rate sound. Toch fans need not hesitate in acquiring this excellent disc.
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com
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