Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Gernsheim, Friedrich. (1839-1916) The Piano Quintets..

New acquisition.
Bought in January 2017.
First listen: 26-1-2017.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: December 2013.
Recording venue: SWR, Rosbaud Studio, Baden-Baden, Germany.
Recording engineer: Robert Müller.
Running time: 58:52.
Classical relevance: As a Collector of Gernsheim music, essential.

Works performed:

Quintet for Piano, 2 violins. Viola, and cello No. 1 opus 35 in D minor, and No. 2, opus 63 in B minor.

Performed by:
Gémeaux Quartet.
Oliver Triendl, Piano.

If you love your Brahms, Gernsheim is a must. Not that he copies Brahms, but he emulates the same genre in a different but recognizable way. It is a shame that Gernsheim's reputation as a musician is wiped out by the event of the first WW, and the Nazi regime by obliterating him totally from the viewer's eye. Out of sight out of mind so to say. He did not like the new German school, and in my opinion he was right in his stance. He followed the path of Brahms and his fellow composers and thus became one of them. And it must be said both were great friends.
In the first quintet you can clearly hear how alike Brahms and Gernsheim were, as he almost travels the same path as Brahms F minor quintet, but without slavishly copying it. Gernsheim has always been his own man in shaping melodies and create fine harmonies. But he has the same warmth and passion, a fine sense of applying the right dynamics, and at the same time insert the necessary passion that sinks you deep in the prevailing emotion. Just let yourself be swept away by the fourth movement, "Allegro con brio" and you will know what I am talking about.  It's really a fine and rewarding work.
The second quintet was written in the year of Brahms dead 1897. One could say that the choice of B minor was probably a tribute to Brahms. It is a deeply moving work, which shows why Gernsheim as a composer must be revived and become a permanent figure in our awareness of a musician that fully deserves to be amongst those we revere. ( In this CPO must be applauded for they singlehandedly put Gernsheim music on the map again)
The first movement of the B minor, "Molto moderato" is such an impressive introduction, it immediately sets the mood of the piece in a framework of Brahmsian splendour, as if the master is at work, through one of his best followers. But Gernsheim always write in a different way yet akin to Brahms his oeuvre. I can not stress enough that Gernsheim is a master in his own right, which comes out splendidly in this work. This movement is followed by a very graceful "Adagio" that wrings out every ounce of musical perception. The ebb and flow is perfectly embedded in a stream of passionate waves of passion. Amazing writing for the strings! All in all I think this CD is a worthy follow up of the many Gernsheim discs already released. The works get a fine performance, and the recording does not disappoint either.



Baroque Bass Cantatas from the Mügeln Archive.

New acquisition. Date of purchase: September 2017. First listen: 25-9-2017. Label: CPO. Recording dates: December 2010. Venue: Gemeinde...