Notes and Editorial Reviews
Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth
. 2 Waltzes. Duo on Polish Themes.
La Notte. Walther von der Vogelewide
Friedemann Eichhorn (vn); Rolf-Dieter Arens (pn); Uwe Stickert (ten)
HÄNNSLER 98.634 (54:20
Text and Translation)
The second volume of violinist Friedemann Eichhorn’s and pianist Rolf-Dieter Arens’s collection of Franz
Liszt’s works for violin and piano opens with what the booklet notes by scholar Leslie Howard, who also prepared the Urtext published by the Liszt Society Publications, describes as a reworking from the 1850s of the original version for piano of the
No. 12. It’s not only strikingly virtuosic but strikingly Magyar and poses a conundrum why this—and Liszt’s other works for violin—should have fallen into desuetude. Howard describes the contribution to the violin part made by violinist Joseph Joachim (who transcribed Johannes Brahms’s
for violin and also made substantial suggestions to Brahms about the solo part of his Violin Concerto). Compared to Brahms’s dances, however, the rhapsody breathes its exoticism at a more leisurely pace and with a more ostentatiously virtuosic role assigned to the piano. Eichhorn and Arens, caught at a bit of a distance, seem well balanced; Eichhorn, however, doesn’t sound so sumptuous as a closer miking might make him appear, though his double-stops and figuration sizzle nevertheless.
Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth
(The Nonnenwerth Cloister) derives from a song by the same title. Eichhorn and his 1784 Vincenzo Panormo violin convey the song’s moodiness; if somehow the timbres seem curiously washed out rather than vibrant, that may be due in part to what sounds like a static interaction between the two parts as conceived in the score. Liszt wrote the original piano version of the Two Waltzes, according to Howard, at the age of 11, and Eichhorn repeats the first after the second, fashioning from the two a sort of waltz within a waltz.
Compared to the preceding relatively brief compositions, the Duo in C?-Minor, almost 20 minutes in length, lasts long enough to make allusions to several sources, including a graceful nod to Frédéric Chopin’s Mazurka, op. 6/2, and several others to a number of Polish melodies. Howard speculates that violinist Charles-Philippe Lafont may have taken a hand in the violin part, but however idiomatic it may be, it lacks the flamboyant virtuoso fireworks of the
in which Joachim assisted. With the dominance of the violin part therefore somewhat reduced, Arens shows himself capable of communicating effectively a larger proportion of the musical message.
, conceived, according to Howard, for orchestra and later transcribed for piano, derives from an individual piece by the same title from the
Années de pèlerinage
. Broodingly atmospheric, with menacing double-stopped tremolos and drooping sighs in the violin as well as heavily treading bass lines in the piano, it explores expressive territory in its opening section more graphically than do its discmates—and it hardly seems devoid of ethnic associations. Eichhorn and Arens sympathetically limn this shadowy romantic scene.
Tenor Uwe Stickert joins Eichhorn and Arens for the concluding work, a song for tenor and piano with a discreet but allusive violin obbligato. The three parts in combination recreate the poem’s highly charged yet haunting atmosphere.
18:6, I reviewed the second volume of violinist Chris Nichols’s and pianist Jonathan Ayerst’s collection of Liszt’s music for violin and piano (Hyperion CDA66743), which included the
and the Duo in C?-Minor (in Tibor Serly’s edition). Nichols plays the Rhapsody a bit more straightforwardly, although Ayerst seems more thunderingly flamboyant than Arens. In the Duo, Eichhorn is again more allusive and Ayerst projects a similar frisson-generating bravura. Hyperion’s engineer surrounded the soloists with less reverberation than do Hannsler’s. But the choice may come down to Hännsler’s and Hyperion’s respective programs; Hyperion offers the
Hungarian Rhapsody, Valse-Caprice, Consolation No. 3,
Grand Duo Concertant, Mephisto Waltz
No. 1—arranged stunningly by Nathan Milstein for violin solo, according to Milstein the hardest work he’d ever played—
Epithalam, Valse oubliée
, and the Duo. Still, for the unfamiliar works it contains, as well as for new and less unfamiliar editions of several that have been previously recorded, the second volume of Hännsler’s collection deserves a recommendation to listeners of all kinds.
FANFARE: Robert Maxham
Works on This Recording
Duo for Violin and Piano, S 127 by Franz Liszt
Friedemann Eichhorn (Violin),
Rolf-Dieter Arens (Piano)
Written: circa 1832-1835; France
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