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Emil HARTMANN (1836-1898)
Violin Concerto in G minor op. 19 (1876) [25:15]
Cello Concerto in D minor op. 26 (1879) [18:52]
Piano Concerto in F minor op. 49 (1890) [26:02]
Christina Ĺstrand (violin)
Stanimir Todorov (cello)
Per Salo (piano)
Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra/Hannu Lintu
rec. Helsingborg Konserthuset, 1-5 Sept 2003, 20-21 Aug 2004. DDD
DACAPO SACD 6.220511 [70:09]

 

 

The Hartmanns are something of a musical dynasty. Emil was the son of the composer J.P.E. Hartmann (1805-1900) who was the grand-son of another composer Johann Hartmann (1726-1793).

Here neatly packaged are three Mendelssohnian concertos each in three movements. Emil wrote them over a fifteen year period. Other composers suggest themselves to the listener from time to time including Gade and Lange-Müller. The Violin Concerto has its Mephistophelian and Lisztian moments in the outer movements and a general autumnal overlay of Brahmsian succulence. Hartmann's own personality comes across in the delightfully flighty violin line in the finale.

Hartmann's links with Germany were strong and his music enjoyed an enthusiastic following there. Nevertheless the Cello Concerto has an indefinable yet unmistakable Nordic folksy quality threaded through the singing felicitous manner. I am not in favour of extracting movements from complete pieces but the little Canzonetta middle movement would work well in a mixed recital including Dvořák's Silent Woods and the Tchaikovsky and Sibelius miniatures for cello and orchestra. The finale is an enchanting cheerful rondo in which the lightness of the writing is faithfully caught in the buoyancy of the playing and in careful attention to dynamic contrast. If you enjoy the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations you will love this piece. It was written for the cellist Friedrich Grützmacher.

The Piano Concerto, written in Hartmann's last decade for the Agnes Hansen the sister of the soloist Robert Hansen who had premiered the Cello Concerto. The central movement is another Canzonetta and just as memorable in its fragile delicacy as its Cello Concerto counterpart. This work is much more indebted to Schumann and occasionally in the fine and boisterous finale to Brahms' Second Piano Concerto.

There have been previous recordings of all these items. The Violin Concerto is one of the thirty plus in Danacord's wonderful Nordic concerto survey. The Cello Concerto is coupled with other Romantic Danish Cello Concertos (Hamerik, Neruda and  Salomon on ClassicO CLASSCD 315 played by Morten Zeuthen (cello) with the Bohemian Chamber Philharmonic/Douglas Bostock). The Piano Concerto has been issued on Danacord as part of the Danish musical families series.

The Danish continue to show the way in the revival of their and the world's musical heritage. This is a very agreeable disc in every way presenting romantic era music that, while not immune from convention, is entertaining and often touching.

Rob Barnett

see also Review by Jonathan Woolf

 


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