Norbert Burgmüller (1810-1836) was praised by Schumann, and his early death deeply lamented and compared to the early death of Schubert. His body of work is small, but there are some rather skillfully written and moderately inspired pieces among them. Burgmüller's style may perhaps be compared to that of early Schumann and Weber, but is relatively conservatively classical - none of the works on this disc really suggests that he had yet arrived at any kind of personal mode of expression yet, but it is all well put together and some of the thematic material is very worthwhile.
The piano concerto dates from 1829 and was designated "op.1". It is traditional in structure and traditionally scored, though there are many imaginative touches and interesting ways of linking his various motifs. Though definitely challenging to play, it is not really a showcase virtuoso bravura piece. It would have helped if the thematic material itself was more distinguished, of course, but overall this is a mildly enjoyable work if hardly a forgotten masterpiece. The Overture, probably intended for his uncompleted opera Dionys, lacks a really strong profile - it is not a bad work, but it certainly doesn't distinguish itself from the many similar pieces composed at the time.
The second symphony was left incomplete at the composer's death - we are given the three extant movements here, and the work ends a little abruptly with the scherzo. The substantial opening movements uses its themes for all they are worth, and would perhaps have benefited from a little pruning. The second movement is rather sparkling and life-affirming in character, and overall appealing, whereas the dramatic scherzo - though it contains some clever tricks - is rather inconsequential (one feels that it could have served as an excellent bridge to a finale, but that was never to be, of course).
The performances by the Wuppertal Symphony Orchestra under Gernot Schmalfuss are generally decent, but seem to lack ideal clarity of focus and momentum, though Leonard Hokanson does a decent job in the concerto. The recorded sound lacks a little focus as well. Overall, then, this is a mildly interesting and enjoyable release, recommended to fans of early romanticism, but it failed to convince me that MDG had hit upon real, hidden treasure here.