Notes and Editorial Reviews
Here’s old wine in a new bottle, a 1989–90 recording given the surround-sound SACD treatment. Presumably, the rear-channel ambience is artificially processed, which doesn’t really matter. What comes out of the front speakers is good and well balanced, although the orchestral strings lack the warmth and full definition of an original DSD recording.
Both the performances and the scores have aged pretty well. Rheinberger was a fine though not entirely distinctive composer of the mid to late 19th century; he was clearly influenced by Schumann and Brahms (the F-Major Concerto could almost pass for the latter), and ended up as something of a proto-Reger. His two concertos do not deserve their relative neglect, and Andreas Juffinger
and Hartmut Haenchen serve them well, if not ideally. In his Telarc recording, Michael Murray seems more decisive and impulsive in the F-Major Concerto (he didn’t record the other), and the German musicians’ tempos in the G-Minor Concerto, with its Phantom of the Opera melodrama, can be listless, though not debilitatingly so. On the other hand, these musicians’ sober approach allows Rheinberger’s music to soar without giving it too hard a push. Soaring is something the op. 166 Suite for Violin and Organ can’t quite manage. It’s Romantic music inspired by Baroque formats, each of the four movements attractive in its own way but contributing no internal variety. Here, it’s all stately and well played, with Ernö Sebestyen employing a dark, viola-like tone in many passages.
James Reel, FANFARE
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Organ no 1 in F major, Op. 137 by Joseph Rheinberger
Andreas Juffinger (Organ)
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
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