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Toch: Violin Sonata No 1, Cello Sonata... / Spectrum Concerts Berlin

Release Date: 04/29/2014 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 559716   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ernst Toch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Spectrum Concerts Berlin
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

TOCH String Trio , op. 63. Adagio elegaico. Cello Sonata , op. 50. Divertimento , op. 37/1. Violin Sonata No. 1, op. 21 Spectrum Concerts Berlin NAXOS 8.559716 (77:24)

Ernst Toch’s 1936 Read more String Trio is stern and harsh, perhaps reflecting his life (escape from Nazi Germany and resettlement in the United States). The music is tough, the harmonies and the string writing astringent. Which is reflected in the performance as well: Are the performers wise to emphasize the difficulties? Or would they have been better advised to soften the edges for the listening public? Your call. Nevertheless, the trio comes across as a powerful piece, well worth suffering through the effort to get to know it.

The Adagio elegaico from 1950 could not be more different from the trio: Clarinet and piano coast calmly along for three-and-a-half minutes of simple, solidly tonal music at a constant piano dynamic.

The 1929 Cello Sonata cannot decide whether to be serious or light. The opening Allegro commodo is something like a playful fugue, with the piano doing almost everything; the Allegro finale develops into a wild tarantella, with the piano again leading the way.

The playful 1925 Divertimento is for violin and cello. Its three short movements are brilliantly played by violinist Annette von Hehn (no longer the astringent instrumentalist of the trio) and cellist Jens Peter Maintz, who has more opportunity to shine than in the sonata.

The 1913 Violin Sonata is a fully Romantic Brahmsian outpouring with a hint of Richard Strauss, but it occasionally breaks out of the mold into some more experimental pages. It’s a gorgeous piece—one can understand why it leads off on the booklet’s cover. Once again the piano takes center stage; pianist Katya Apekisheva plays gloriously, and von Hehn holds up her end of the bargain.

There have been other recordings of some of these pieces, but I’ve not heard any that particularly impressed me. This whole CD is interesting, and the violin sonata seals an enthusiastic recommendation.

FANFARE: James H. North
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Works on This Recording

Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 21 by Ernst Toch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Spectrum Concerts Berlin
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913 
Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 50 by Ernst Toch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Spectrum Concerts Berlin
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929; Berlin, Germany 
Divertimento for Violin and Cello, Op. 37 no 1 by Ernst Toch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Spectrum Concerts Berlin
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925 
Adagio Elegiaco by Ernst Toch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Spectrum Concerts Berlin
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950 
Trio for Strings, Op. 63 by Ernst Toch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Spectrum Concerts Berlin
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936 

Sound Samples

String Trio, Op. 63: I. Allegro
String Trio, Op. 63: II. Adagio
String Trio, Op. 63: III. Allegro
Adagio Elegiaco
Cello Sonata, Op. 50: I. Allegro commodo
Cello Sonata, Op. 50: II. Intermezzo, "Die Spinne": Andante
Cello Sonata, Op. 50: III. Allegro
Divertimento, Op. 37, No. 1: I. Flott
Divertimento, Op. 37, No. 1: II. Fliessend, sehr zart
Divertimento, Op. 37, No. 1: III. Frisch
Violin Sonata No. 1, Op. 21: I. Allegro non troppo
Violin Sonata No. 1, Op. 21: II. Adagio non troppo
Violin Sonata No. 1, Op. 21: III. Allegro giocoso

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