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Rontgen: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 4 / Kirschnereit, Porcelijn, NDR Radiophilhamonie

Roentgen / Kirschnereit / Ndr Radiophilharmonie
Release Date: 09/27/2011 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 777398   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Julius Röntgen
Performer:  Matthias Kirschnereit
Conductor:  David Porcelijn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

These two piano concertos date from an earlier period than the two violin concertos already released in this series. Piano Concerto No. 2 was composed in 1879 and shows the composer very close to his Leipzig school roots, while No. 4 dates from 1906. Like the later of the two violin concertos, it's more concisely structured than its predecessor, but otherwise is written in much the same style. What distinguishes Röntgen's music here, as elsewhere, is its strong melodic personality, and the sense that, even though the idiom is conservative, the composer has no damaging inhibitions. This is simply who he is.

The performances in this series have been very distinguished, by and large, and this disc is no exception. David
Read more Porcelijn is always a fine conductor of unusual repertoire; he makes the music sound easy, natural, and familiar. Pianist Matthias Kirschnereit plays with a very attractive sensitivity to Röntgen's colorful keyboard palette. There's a lot of figuration in the treble register in both of these works, but particularly in Concerto No. 2, and it never sounds pointlessly "tinkly" here. As with other volumes in this project, the engineering is very good. Röntgen wrote a lot of music, and he hasn't let us down yet.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

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CPO take a diversion from the symphonies into these two three-movement piano concertos of Germanophile Dutch composer Julius Röntgen.
 
The concertos owe their glossary to Brahms but this does not mean that they are to the same Olympian scale as the two Brahms concertos. In fact each runs to a couple of minutes either side of half an hour. The style of the Second Piano Concerto of owes a deep fealty to Brahms. One has the sense that Röntgen in 1879 had found the musical apple of his eye and would be feasting his creativity on that object. There is no doubting this. In fact the very oxygen and topography of the ideas derive from the Hamburg-born master. The first movement has that chiming pastoral high-mindedness you hear in the Grieg concerto - Grieg was a friend of Röntgen. The movement traverses stirring Olympian landscapes to attain idyllic introspection. Röntgen’s introspection looks upon internal realms and it is clear that what he finds is good and contents his mind. There is no anxiety here - only a tender absorption in beauty. The second movement is pervaded by centred calm. The finale breaks the spell with a dignified and grand Polish dance - delicious delicacy from 4:55 onwards. For all of my comments about Grieg and Brahms it should be borne in mind that in 1879 the Brahms Second Piano Concerto lay two years in the future though the Grieg had been written a decade earlier.
 
The shadow of Brahmsian confidence is still there in the wings for the Fourth Concerto. It’s strongly present in the unhurried romanticism of the Larghetto but moderated by a elysian romance - something between Beethoven and Chopin. The finale has a vigorously dancing exuberance. The Allegro is a faithful reflection of the mood of the two outer movements. The First movement lends an ear to the mysterious rumbling of Beethoven’s Ninth but this is a transitory presence. Soon the centripetal pull of Röntgen’s exalted Brahmsian calling asserts itself.
 
The performances and recording are mete companions to the overarching air of surging confidence and affectionate introspection. The capable and generously proportioned notes are by Röntgen biographer Dr Jurjen Vis. Another strongly perfumed entry in the Röntgen revivals.
 
For all of my usual comparisons these works are very satisfying and have some extremely beautiful, noble and fresh things to say. Just don’t look for high tragedy.
 
-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International   
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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Piano no 2 by Julius Röntgen
Performer:  Matthias Kirschnereit (Piano)
Conductor:  David Porcelijn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Netherlands 
2. Concerto for Piano no 4 by Julius Röntgen
Performer:  Matthias Kirschnereit (Piano)
Conductor:  David Porcelijn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Netherlands 

Sound Samples

Piano Concerto No. 2 in D major, Op. 18: I. Allegro
Piano Concerto No. 2 in D major, Op. 18: II. Larghetto espressivo
Piano Concerto No. 2 in D major, Op. 18: III. Finale: Allegro con brio
Piano Concerto No. 4 in F major: I. Allegro
Piano Concerto No. 4 in F major: II. Larghetto espressivo
Piano Concerto No. 4 in F major: III. Finale: Allegro con brio

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