lunes, 11 de noviembre de 2013

Hans Pfitzner: Violin Concerto.

Hans Pfitzner
Saschko Gawriloff, Violin
Bamberger Symphoniker
Dir: Werner Andreas Albert.

     Sin duda uno de los mejores conciertos para violín del siglo XX.
Critical Summary: Beautiful, intensely lyrical, mostly gentle, late Romantic music, beautifully performed and recorded, by a composer not known as one of the beautiful people. Particularly compelling Violin Concerto.
After quite a few hearings I have decided that as far as I am concerned the Pfitzner Violin Concerto is one of the most satisfying concertos for that instrument. The cello concertos and this early Scherzo are also very fine. That these and other Pfitzner works are not played or recorded much outside of Germany is, I tend to assume, largely due to strictly extra-musical reasons, which I have been wrestling with and will address later.
Pfitzner's creative life spanned well over half a century, from around 1888 to the 1940s. His style was always conservative and did not really change much over the years. He was not nearly conservative enough for the truly reactionary Director of the Frankfurt Conservatory, who, incensed that Pfitzner's first cello concerto included instrumentation for three trombones, and had "Wagnerian" sounding harmonic augmentation of triads, stormed out of the trial performance, as Pfitzner relates, so Pfitzner never graduated. Notwithstanding, Pfitzner certainly mastered all needed compositional skills. Hans-Christian Schmidt, a musicologist on the faculty of the University of Osnabrück, with a few books to his credit, and who contributes extensive analytical notes to these recordings, attests to this. Schmidt calls Pfitzner "as much a faded traditionalist as a feeble avant-gardist," a "conservative nonconformist" who "does not admit of stylistic classification."
In general, Pfitzner's music is melodically beautiful and he uses a large orchestra sparingly, with particularly effective use of the woodwinds and, on occasion, solo trumpet and horn. He uses the full range of his solo instruments; dynamics range from very soft to very loud, though are generally quite moderate; tempos range from quite slow to presto. Structurally, this music uses variation form, counterpoint and more or less continuous development.
The lively and energetic (Lebhaft, energisch) opening movement of the Violin Concerto is intensely lyrical rather than dramatic, and at the beginning both violin and orchestra soar, though melody in this movement is frequently in short phrases. All of the ensemble's sections have their say, with flute trills and oboe solos, some brief but haunting horn and trumpet calls, then prominent brass, followed by a skipping motion in the strings, which is later taken up by the soloist. Drums, cymbals and triangle are also heard, though percussion is not particularly prominent in Pfitzner's concertos.
The short, slow second movement is marked "sehr getragen" (very stately) though this does not preclude a very loud central passage, rather Mahler-esque, perhaps, which subsides nicely. It begins with a beautiful oboe solo and toward the end there is some exquisite music where the oboe plays over the strings, is joined by the harp, which has the last word.
The long third movement, close to half the length of the whole concerto, begins with long melodic lines, and contains striking, in fact gorgeous outpouring of melody, sometimes perky, sometimes soaring, as in Prokofieff's violin concertos. There is also a fortissimo outburst, and the buildup at the end is reminiscent of Richard Strauss, though there is a hushed moment before the music rushes to a final thump. I might prefer that Pfitzner had re-written the ending, though I am sure that live audiences would have no objection to it.
Schmidt, in his extensive notes, calls this work brilliant and inspired (a comment that would have pleased Pfitzner, who valued musical inspiration highly). He likes Pfitzner's structural approach, his subtle, transformative "thematic dramaturgy" and his "concentration and economy." Somewhat confusingly, he sees the concerto as "of one movement in the guise of four movements," though he does proceed in terms of the three movements I mentioned. In the first of these, Schmidt notes three themes, with the third of these having seven variations; the last of those prepares thematically for the slow movement. The cadenza is transformative rather than flashy. Schmidt describes the rhythm of the slow movement as "steady forward striding," and he finds the third movement humorous and witty.

James Tobin

2 comentarios:

Mahlerite-Shosta dijo...

torode dijo...

Please, can you upload the rest of the music from this?
Thank you!
Por favor, ¿puedes subir el resto de la música de todo esto?