- Audio CD (Sep 1 1998)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Chandos
- ASIN: B000000B0F
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #75,148 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|1. Military March In B Flat Major: Marschtempo|
|2. Cello Concerto, Op. 37: Allegro moderato ma con fuoco - Grave - Allegro moderato - Grandioso|
|3. Symphonic Serenade For String Orchestra, Op. 39: I. Allegro moderato, semplice|
|4. Symphonic Serenade For String Orchestra, Op. 39: II. Intermezzo: Allegro molto|
|5. Symphonic Serenade For String Orchestra, Op. 39: III. Lento religioso|
|6. Symphonic Serenade For String Orchestra, Op. 39: IV. Finale: Allegro con fuoco|
|7. Piano Concerto In C Sharp (For Left Hand), Op. 17: Massiges Zeitmas, heldisch, mit Feuer und Kraft|
The Symphonic Serenade and The Cello Concerto were written after the Second World War and Korngold's sojourn in Hollywood. As was noted here, the Cello Concerto consists of music from the film Deception that included a short concerto as part of the film. Korngold took this music, doubled the length, and produced a concert work of great charm that is a showpiece for the cello. It is a compact work, like Barber's First Symphony, and perhaps the only problem is that the concerto is too short. The Symphonic Serenade is a work for string orchestra written shortly after the Cello Concerto. This piece is not meant as a serenade but a symphony, a more serious work. The slow movement marked Lento Religioso is deeply felt and may owe its inspiration to the horrors of the war. Like many of Korngold's work, it was performed and disappeared. Maybe it is only now that Korngold's music and his place in music history can be appreciated.
The works recorded here are well-played and recorded. A wonderful disc that one will want to keep.
Good production move, too, beginning with his fluffy Military March (as Track 1) because we can immediately skip it entirely and get down to essentials.
The Cello Concerto, Op. 37 ("Deception") comes, part and parcel, from Korngold's original score for the film of the same name, in which it served as a "set piece" of some six minutes in the last reel climax. Broadened to twelve minutes and published in 1950, it is a beautiful, tender work, achingly so, interwoven with mood and mystery. And all too short for my liking! Cellist Peter Dixon plays gloriously. (Can't imagine better.)
The Symphonic Serenade, Op. 39 is a fascinating work, as well, rather reminiscent of Britten's "Simple Symphony." The first movement Allegro retains a striking, almost brutal, melancholy with moments of intense, searching profundity. It is visceral. Particularly intriguing is the imaginative Intermezzo, played nearly completely pizzicato, which imbues the movement with a episodic eerieness. The eleven minute Lento religioso--- the true "heart" of the Serenade--- is a brilliant, anguished chorale-like plea not easily forgotten. It seems a distillation of Korngold's genius. Incredibly moving. Indeed, this is sacred ground! The Finale rumbles and grumbles its way, almost comically, to a highly satisfying conclusion of a highly satisfying and musically gifted work.
The Piano Concerto, Op. 17, in one movement of nearly twenty-eight minutes, appears almost Schumannesque in its schizophrenic indecision: Moments of beguiling tenderness, soaring melody, broken asunder by startling excursions into dissonance, and then, just as suddenly, returning to the most sublime displays of renewed lyricism. Extraordinary! Considering this was premiered in 1924 by the left-handed pianist, Paul Wittgenstein, who also commissioned the work, it is an astoundingly forward-looking and innovative composition. Not only this: It's next to impossible to believe a concerto such as this can actually be played by the left hand alone! One tends to completely forget while listening. It's that intense and compelling musically, if not downright thrilling. Kudos to pianist Shelley!
Fine orchestral support by the BBC Philharmonic under Bamert, whose affinity for Korngold is obvious, and excellent sound from Chandos.
At nearly seventy-six minutes, this may be the only Korngold CD you'll ever need. It is certainly an exceptional wealth of brazenly original music.
Definitely worth hearing, if not owning.