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02.03.2010 - CD release with Wolfram Lorenzen + Orchestra

Large Unknown Concert Works for Piano and Orchestra

Wolfram Lorenzen – known as a pianist who stands for the German tradition after Wilhelm Kempff and who has been praised time and again by the critics, particularly for his high-quality recordings of the works of Robert Schumann and Max Reger – presents us here with a veritable treasure chest of underrated, neglected repertoire for piano and orchestra by three composers who number among the true greats of their respective epochs.

The main piece is the monumental Piano Concerto op. 114 by Max Reger, which was composed in 1910. It is a colossal work that was perceived by some contemporaries to be a wild monstrosity, and that was just as emphatically greeted as vehemently rejected. Some saw in Reger the composer who was destined continue the German classical line from Bach through Beethoven and Brahms into the unknown; others railed against the “delirious” chromaticist. To the present day, nothing has changed in terms of the contentiousness, of Reger’s polarizing power. This concerto is justifiably feared by pianists; only true artists have proved to be successful with it. Lorenzen can be heard here in a brilliant live recording made  in St. Gallen in 1997.

With its immense harmonic wealth in the narrowest space, the inexhaustible transfigurations of the thematic shape, the daunting extremes that are also reflected in the contrasts of tempo, and its wide sweeping form, the first movement is a prime example of Reger’s symphonic style. The piano part is closely woven together with the orchestral parts and, at the same time, very thankful for the soloist. The Largo con gran espressione as the heart of the concerto captivates with mysterious magic, subtle transitions, and a songful, enraptured religioso atmosphere. Surprising for many will undoubtedly be the delicate, reserved character of the Allegro con spirito finale, which is reminiscent of the spirit, but not of the style of the final movement of Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto. Reger’s Piano Concerto is one of the outstanding solo concertos of the period of upheaval between post Romanticism and Modernism.

The Rhapsody op. 1 by Béla Bartók is the earliest work that Hungary’s most important composer still cherished even in later years. At the same time, it is a link between the Lisztian rhapsodic tradition and Bartók’s pre-eminent status as the greatest innovator in the music of his time. To be discovered here is the yet unknown Bartók, who while searching for his own personal language discovered and put into concertante form the improvisational structures of folk music.

For a long time, Felix Mendelssohn’s Capriccio brillant op. 22, which came into being as an elaboration of his popular Rondo capriccioso for piano solo, was very popular. But today, single-movement concert pieces are only seldom performed in the concert hall. This Stuttgart Radio production with Ernest Bour is a good opportunity to rediscover one of the inspired jewels from Mendelssohn’s golden period, infused by the fresh youthfulness and timeless, refined elegance that is characteristic of him.

PIANO CONCERTOS

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
Capriccio brilliant for Piano and Orchestra op.22
Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, conductor Ernest Bour

Béla Bartók
Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra op.1
Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, conductor Jiri Starek

Max Reger
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra op.114
Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen, conductor Reinhard Petersen

Wolfram Lorenzen, piano

TRO-CD 01437




 
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The pianist Wolfram Lorenzen can be heard with the Piano Concerto op.114 by Max Reger

Wolfram Lorenzen