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Piano Concertos [Import]

Rontgen , Nauta , Hempel , Orkest Van Het Oosten Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 54.16
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What joyous music! Nov. 15 2007
By Mark E. Ragan - Published on Amazon.com
I can't remember now where I heard a bit of the Piano Concerto in D Major, which comprises the first three tracks of this CD, but regardless, I quickly wrote down the composer's name, and purchased the CD. What a discovery. Have you ever heard of Rontgen? We should have. If you love romantic piano concertos, this is a gem. I wish I was more adept with using words to describe music, but for me, it's all about the feeling. The word that comes to mind when I listen to this CD is joyous. The concerto in D is a big and powerful piece, but it's just so sweet at the same time. The man could compose - and from the little information that I've found about him on the internet, he composed A LOT - something like 800 pieces, of which only a few have been published, and fewer still are available on CD. Of the 20-odd piano concertos, only the two (or three, see below) on this CD appear to be available.

The fourth through seventh tracks on the CD are, per the notes, two concertos that sort of form a single piece. (The labeling of the tracks in the notes isn't very clear, apparently because the score was never published during Rontgen's lifetime.) But like the COncerto in D major, the music is also joyous - it's clear that Rontgen was in love with the creation and the performance of this music.

Some might claim that this music is derivative, and coming at the end of the romantic era, it surely reflects Rontgen's influences - he was friends with Grieg and Brahms, after all. But so what? It deserves to be considered on its merits, and from that perspective, it's simply beautiful music. The sad thing, for me, is contemplating the fact that a man who was clearly so talented, and so productive, could have faded into near oblivion. What a shame. As a fan of the romantic piano concerto, I am thankful that Hyperion has taken on the task of resurrecting forgotten, or seldom heard concerti with its series. Rontgen deserves to be among them.

I just love this music - it brings a joyful tear to my eye. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Surprising Gem Jan. 27 2010
By Robert Elmasian - Published on Amazon.com
Julius Röntgen (1855-1932) was a prodigy of great ability who produced a vast number of compositions. Nevertheless, he is little known outside of his own Netherlands and the nearby United Kingdom, perhaps because he was ecclectic and had no trouble composing in the style of other composers. The striking piece in this well played recording by Folke Nauta is the Piano Concerto in D major, Op. 18 composed in 1879. While somewhat smaller in scale, it bears a resemblance in both style and quality to the Brahms Piano Concerto 2 in B flat major, Opus 83. The obvious conclusion is that Röntgen copied Brahms. However, while Brahms started work on his second piano concerto in 1878, he did not finish it until 1881. Furthermore, Brahms visited Amsterdam several times in the years around 1880, heard the Röntgen concerto, and was an admirer of the piece. In 1884, Röntgen played the Brahms B flat concerto under Brahms' direction. Given these facts, Röntgen's 1879 Op. 18 may have influenced Brahms' Op. 83 as much as the other way around. Whichever way influence flowed, and most likely it went in both directions, Röntgen's Op. 18 is a wonderfully enjoyable work. If you have ever grieved over the many pieces Brahms destroyed instead of presenting them to the public, Röntgen's concerto may gave you a taste of what you might have heard, although the music is composed with Röntgen's and not Brahms' hand.

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