First of all, this is a composer, pianist and conductor who has wrongly been marginalized from contemporary awareness. He was born in Frankfurt on February 17, 1850, and died there on January 11, 1907. These dates show him to be an artist of an era characterized by a multidimensional intellectual climate and a psychological outlook that harked back to traditional values on the one hand whilst holding out revolutionary prospects on the other. As an artist, Urspruch was respected by his contemporaries and well established on the music scene. He began teaching at Dr. Hoch’s Conservatory at just 28 years of age, at a time when Clara Schumann was teaching there too. The director there was Joachim Raff, who was also his teacher. After Raff’sRead more death in 1882, Urspruch moved to the newly founded Raff Conservatory and taught there for the rest of his life. He dedicated his piano concerto to Raff. His works encompass many genres, from piano pieces through song cycles, chamber music, symphonies, choral works and his comic opera Das Unmoglichste von allem, which was premiered in 1897. His life was centered around his family. His close personal friendship with Franz Liszt brought him a level of support that went far beyond the usual kind of appreciation shown by the more famous and older composer.
Urspruch wrote some memorable and interesting music and really deserves to be heard more often and I am very glad that someone has taken up the mantle of playing his works. Ana-Marija Markovina is more than capable of dealing with the sometimes extreme technical demands which this composer makes of his performer plus she is able to play with a lovely singing tone where required. She can also cope excellently with the rapid changing moods in this music and does not overplay the sometimes amazing technical demands. The superb recorded sound helps the clarity of the notes and the beauty in the music stand out. She clearly enjoys playing these works and always seems to be aware of what the music is about. I should also point out her disc of Hugo Wolf Piano music (on the Genuin label, number 87091) is well worth seeking out – his piano transcription / fantasies on works by Wagner are fascinating! I unreservedly recommend this set to all lovers of virtuoso piano music who also have an interest in the more neglected corners of the repertoire. I really wish that Urspruch had written more solo piano music so that there would be more for Ana Marija-Markovina to record.
Excellent Music, Terrific PerformanceOctober 7, 2018By A. King (Fayetteville, AR)See All My Reviews"There is great music beyond the 3 B's, and these works are among that body of really fine music. I had never heard of Urspruch--who had--until now. The Cavatina is captivating. I'm sure that is why Arkiv used that as its clip, but the other works are also genuinely excellent. This is clearly late romantic-period music, but Urspruch has his own sound. You won't mistake it for Brahms, Liszt, Strauss or anyone else. I strongly recommend this. The pianist is excellent. I'm very glad that she undertook this project."Report Abuse