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Rihm: Konzert in einem Satz; Toch: Cello Concerto / Tanja Tetzlaff

Rihm / Tetzlaff / Gcpb / Ruzicka / Donderer
Release Date: 11/22/2011 
Label:  Neos   Catalog #: 11038  
Composer:  Wolfgang RihmErnst Toch
Performer:  Tanja Tetzlaff
Conductor:  Peter RuzickaFlorian Donderer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  German Chamber Philharmonic Bremen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

RIHM Concerto in 1 Movement 1. TOCH Cello Concerto 2 Tanja Tetzlaff (vc); 1 Peter Ruzika, 2 Florian Donderer, cond; German CP Bremen NEOS 11038 (55:11) 1 Live: Bremen 5/10/2007

Wolfgang Rihm’s 2005–06 cello Read more concerto and Ernst Toch’s 1925 one have much in common: Both are soulful, songful works—in contrast, say, to Martin??s dazzling, joyous concertos. Toch leavens his second and fourth movements with a wry, elfin humor, and Rihm provides a variety of excitement through the four sections of his single movement. Rihm combines a lyrical, almost continuous cello line with a warm, enveloping orchestral fabric laced with gentle, comfortable dissonances that grow edgy during a few climaxes. The solo cello gets little rest but equally few moments to itself.

Ernst Toch’s concerto—his chamber orchestra is one-to-a-part, lacking brass but including timpani and a percussionist—makes an entirely different impression here than it does on a Naxos disc by Christian Poltera and Spectrum Concerts Berlin ( Fanfare 30:5 and a last-minute cut-out from my Want List 2007). There it seemed a true artifact of the Second Vienna School, combining the aggressive energy and harmonic daring of Schoenberg, the emotional wallop of Berg, and the hard, crisp orchestration of Webern. Here it extends the romantic impression made by the Rihm. The Naxos disc gives tempo headings; Neos identifies the movements merely by number: I is a lengthy Allegro assai moderato, complex yet thoughtful; II is a brief, playful Agitato; in III, the solo cello leads the few strings in a long Adagio, as if in a single breath; IV recycles the mood of the Agitato, now at Allegro Vivace.

This live recording documents the German premiere of Rihm’s concerto, yet Tanja Tetzlaff—sister of violinist Christian Tetzlaff and cellist of their eponymous string quartet—plays with a silken assurance, as if she had been playing it for years. (Her program notes about learning a new concerto are fascinating.) The Bremen orchestra is marvelous, seemingly an extension of the solo cello. The Toch is a studio recording. Its second movement contains a long horn solo played with the easy nonchalance of a Dennis Brain, and she—Elke Schulze Höckelmann—leads the 11-instrument ensemble through the finale with equal panache. Gnädige Frau , the New York Philharmonic needs you. The recorded sound captures a warm ambience that flatters both works.

Tetzlaff sums up her program notes: “Who will be interested in such an unknown repertoire? … Who will listen to this CD a second or third time to become better acquainted with the pieces, to understand them better, perhaps to change their first impression?” That’s an easy one, Fanfare readers: you and I! My first candidate for Want List 2012 included cello concertos by Martin?, Hindemith, and Honegger ( Fanfare 35:3); it looks like this is the year of the cello.

FANFARE: James H. North
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Works on This Recording

Concerto in One Movement for Cello by Wolfgang Rihm
Performer:  Tanja Tetzlaff (Cello)
Conductor:  Peter Ruzicka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  German Chamber Philharmonic Bremen
Written: 2005-2006 
Concerto for Cello, Op. 35 by Ernst Toch
Performer:  Tanja Tetzlaff (Cello)
Conductor:  Florian Donderer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  German Chamber Philharmonic Bremen
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924 

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