Sunday, November 29, 2015

Eugen D'Albert: Symphony in F, and Cello Concerto in C


Today, I found a couple more major concert works by Eugen D’Albert on YouTube. D'Albert was born in Scotland, has a French name, but wrote music in the style of German romanticism, often inspired by Franz Liszt and to some extent Brahms (and oddly, on the same palette, Bruckner).  He was born four years later than Mahler, but became very accomplished technically, particularly with counterpoint and very chromatic harmonies, by his late teens.  Some say he was a "ladies' man".
   
The first one I looked at is the Cello Concerto in C Major, Op. 20, performed by Antonio Meneses, cello, and Ronald Zollman conducting the Basel Symphony Orchestra, link. The work, running 22 minutes, is in three connected movements, opening with an allegro moderato with a lyrical theme.   The slow movement has even more lyricism, and the finale is more dance-like. But the opening theme for the work comes back before the triumphant end in the rondo dance rhythm.  The work perhaps resembles the longer first piano concerto in that a lot of relaxed, deliberate tempi tend to predominate most of the work.

The other work is the Symphony in F Major, Op. 4 (1886), conducted by Jun Markl.  Like the first piano concerto, this is a youthful (age 22) and very big and ambitious work.   There are four movements.  The tonal pattern is a bit like the Brahms third:  the slow movement is in C Minor, and scherzo in C, before returning to F.  The style resembles a combination of Brahms and early Dvorak, but the slow movement has passionate climaxes that remind one of Bruckner.  The opening theme may sound familiar.  The finale has a slow introduction, and then becomes vigorous and triumphant at the end (whereas Brahms quiets down, in a key that has a reputation for  a “pastoral” personality, ever since Beethoven).  The music is not quite as original harmonically as some of the first piano concerto (like the cadenza) which still remains an underperformed teen masterwork.

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