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Genzmer: Solo Concertos / Lieberknecht, Triendl, Tomter, Albert

Release Date: 07/29/2008 
Label:  Thorofon   Catalog #: 2528   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Harald Genzmer
Performer:  Andrea LieberknechtOliver TriendlLars Anders Tomter
Conductor:  Werner Andreas Albert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

GENZMER Flute Concerto. Concertino No 1. 1 Viola Concerto Werner Andreas Albert, cond; Andrea Liebeknecht (fl); Oliver Triendl (pn); 1 Lars Anders Tomter (va); Saarbrücken RSO THOROFON 2528 (66:28)

Now that the long-lived and hugely prolific Harald Genzmer (1909–2007) has left us, it will become increasingly imperative to start assessing his invaluable Read more contributions to 20th-century German music. This writer has a hunch that he will someday be regarded as one of the major mainstream figures of his period, perhaps somewhat along the lines of Ludwig Spohr. This latest of Thorofon’s many releases devoted to him certainly makes a strong case with three significant concertante efforts.

Written in 1954 for the well-known German flutist Gustav Scheck (and recorded by him in DG’s legendary “Musica Viva” series), the Flute Concerto shows Genzmer powerfully breaking through the lingering influence of his teacher Hindemith to achieve his own language and personality. This 20-minute work is considerably more assertive, even more aggressive than the customary Gallicized and coloristic concerto for this instrument. Genzmer has written a highly virtuosic piece that explores every aspect of the flute’s expressive range while adhering to the classical sonata-form tradition. In other words, both rhapsodic and structural considerations are addressed in a forceful and highly effective vehicle, probably the best German flute concerto since the two Reinecke works of 60 to 70 years prior.

Next we have one of Genzmer’s most memorable and beautifully detailed works—the Second Concertino for piano and strings of 1963. Though this pianist—Oliver Triendl—had already recorded the work in the 1990’s for a now extinct label, it is good to have this tenderly lyrical, intermittently mysterious, and marvelously well-integrated music on disc again. Genzmer probably designated this 20-minute, four-movement score a concertino not only because of the strings-only accompaniment but also because of the absence of any hint of fustian or monumentality. The piano part is very prominent and eloquently adorned with many trills and quavers, and most of the themes are derived from a festive but exalted Hindemithian chord pattern that is varied and explored in a decoratively kaleidoscopic fashion. This is simply one of the composer’s most felicitous and satisfying—both musically and emotively—achievements. Perhaps someday we can have a recording of the companion First Concertino for violin, piano, and strings.

Genzmer’s 1967 Viola Concerto (not to be confused with his chamber concerto for viola and strings) is a much darker work than the other two on this program. Conceived in Genzmer’s frequent four-movement form, with a mischievous Burlesk inserted between the lengthy Adagio (which contains one of his noblest themes) and the finale (which opens characteristically with a slow introduction leading quickly into a boisterous rondo), is one of his most substantial and probing scores. As often with this composer, the nearly 10-minute slow movement is interrupted by a brief but welcome scherzo passage emphasizing a playful interlude.

Performances and sonics are definitive, especially with the adventurous and internationally renowned Werner Andreas Albert at the helm. If Thorofon is paying attention, let us suggest premiere recordings of a few of Genzmer’s major orchestral scores—the early “Bremen” Symphony and the much later Music for Large Orchestra and Second Concerto for Orchestra. A modern recording of the excellent Concerto for Cello and Winds would also be most appreciated.

Meanwhile, this release is not to be missed on any account.

FANFARE: Paul A. Snook
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Flute by Harald Genzmer
Performer:  Andrea Lieberknecht (Flute)
Conductor:  Werner Andreas Albert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Concertino for Piano and Strings no 2 by Harald Genzmer
Performer:  Oliver Triendl (Piano)
Conductor:  Werner Andreas Albert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; Germany 
Concerto for Viola by Harald Genzmer
Performer:  Lars Anders Tomter (Viola)
Conductor:  Werner Andreas Albert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 

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