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Furstenthal: Chamber Music, Vol. 1 / The Rossetti Ensemble


Release Date: 06/07/2019 
Label:  Toccata Classics   Catalog #: TOCC0519  
Composer:  Robert Fürstenthal
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rossetti Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

When Germany invaded Austria in 1938, Robert Fürstenthal, born in 1920, took the path of many Viennese Jews and fled to the United States, where he made his living as an accountant; the fact that he had written music in his youth was soon forgotten. Reconnection, after 35 years, with the woman who had been his first love rekindled both that flame and his urge to compose, and from then on songs and chamber music flowed from his pen, preserving the spirit of fin-de-siècle Vienna under the Californian sun – ‘When I compose, I am back in Vienna’, he explained. He died in November 2016, aged 96, knowing that his lyrical, eloquent music was at last attracting the attention of both musicians and microphones. When Germany invaded Austria in 1938, Robert Fürstenthal, born in 1920, took the path of many Viennese Jews and fled to the United States, where he made his living as an accountant; the fact that he had written music in his youth was soon forgotten. Reconnection, after 35 years, with the woman who had been his first love rekindled both that flame and his urge to compose, and from then on songs and chamber music flowed from his pen, preserving the spirit of fin-de-siècle Vienna under the Californian sun – ‘When I compose, I am back in Vienna’, he explained. He died in November 2016, aged 96, knowing that his lyrical, eloquent music was at last attracting the attention of both musicians and microphones. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for 2 Oboes in D Minor, Op. 56 by Robert Fürstenthal
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rossetti Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: United States 
2.
Sonata for Cello in F Minor, Op. 58 by Robert Fürstenthal
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rossetti Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: United States 
3.
Sonata for Violin in D Minor, Op. 57 by Robert Fürstenthal
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rossetti Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: United States 
4.
Sonata for Violin in B Minor, Op. 43 by Robert Fürstenthal
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rossetti Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: United States 
5.
Trio for Piano and Strings, Op. 65 by Robert Fürstenthal
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rossetti Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: United States 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Music with a trace of Old Vienna July 19, 2019 By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA) See All My Reviews "The story behind Robert Furstenthal's music is compelling. It might even be the stuff of movies. But in the end, the music has to stand (or fall) on its own merits. The first part of Furstenthal's story isn't new. He was a young Jewish composer forced to flee when the Nazis annexed Austria. He emigrated to America, but the damage was done. His career as a composer was derailed, and he ceased writing music. In the 1970s Furstenthal reconnected with his first love from prewar Vienna. She encouraged him to return to composing. He did, picking up where he left off. The works on this release were all composed in the 1970s (or later). Yet they all sound as if they were written in the 1930s. Stylistically they remind me of Ernest Wolfgang Korngold, or perhaps Franz Schmidt. Furstenthal's music isn't derivative. It's just using a language that's no longer spoken. So how should his music be evaluated? Personally, I think they're well-crafted and -- within their style -- quite imaginative. Furstenthal has a gift for melody and uses his motivic materials effectively. The backstory helps explain why Furstenthal sounds closer to Robert Fuchs than Ernst Krenek. I don't think it matters. Old-fashioned as they may be, these chamber works have a charm and an appeal that works on a purely musical level. The Rosetti Ensemble delivers some heartfelt performances. Cellist Timothy Lowe brings out the nostalgic nature of the Cello Sonata in F minor, giving it poignancy. Sarah-Jane Bradley imbues the Viola Sonata in D minor with a flavor of Hungarian/Romani expressiveness that perfectly suits the music. Violinist Sarah Trickey treats the Violin Sonata in B minor as an offshoot of Brahms, digging into the music with relish. For me, the most successful work on the album was the Sonata for Two Oboes and Piano in D minor. It had an unusual combination of instruments, and so sounded the most original to me. The backstory helps explain why Furstenthal sounds closer to Robert Fuchs than Ernst Krenek. I don't think it matters. Old-fashioned as they may be, these chamber works have a charm and an appeal that works on a purely musical level." Report Abuse
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