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Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942)
Three Pieces for Cello and Piano (1891) [8:03] I Humoreske [2:59]; II Lied [3:27]; III Tarantell [1:38]
Sonata in A minor for Cello and Piano (1894) [27:33]: I Mit Leidenschaft: Allegro [9:58]; Andante [9:13]; Allegretto [8:24]
Trio in D Minor for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, Op. 3 (1896) [28:44]: Allegro ma non troppo [13:29]; Andante [9:28]; Allegro [5:47]
Othmar Muller (cello); Ernst Ottensamer (clarinet); Christopher Hinterhuber (piano)
rec. Liszt Hall, Raiding, Austria, 9-11 April 2007
NAXOS 8.570540 [64:21] 


Experience Classicsonline

This new recording of a selection of early chamber works by Zemlinsky is marked out by the stunning quality of the playing.  This is remarkably accomplished, most especially in the Sonata and offers a  big, full, polished Viennese sound.  The recording is excellent, and altogether the quality of sound is first rate - all the more so for a budget label.

These early works from the composer's romantic period show a very strong influence of Brahms and also some Schubert shows through.  They are good examples of this period of his work although not as well known as the first two of his string quartets.  However it is the excellent playing of the all Viennese-cast which makes this disc exceptional rather than merely pleasant. 

The opening work, three pieces for cello and piano - among the composer's earliest surviving works - is straightforward but effective.  The Humoreske gets the work off to a brisk pace before it mellows into the classically Viennese Lied.  The pace then picks up again to close with a rapid and spiky Tarantell. 

The following Sonata is a little reminiscent of the sound-world of the Trout quintet, as well as of Brahms.  It is taut, well crafted and thoroughly accomplished bearing in mind his relatively early age at the time of writing.  The andante is particularly likeable, but the closing Allegretto is also assured and polished with a sumptuous ending which fades away unexpectedly.  This is a very likeable work which is played excellently here. This alone would justify the purchase of this disc. 

The closing work, the trio, is distinguished by a very very smooth clarinet and a very slow andante!  All the musicians excel themselves and once again the ending is an exciting one.

The two works for cello and piano were discovered by Raphael Wallfisch and performing editions have been prepared by the musicologist Antony Beaumont. Othmar Muller, who performs the cello part here, had the honour of presenting the recently re-discovered Sonata at the Vienna Musikverein. He is a co-founder of the Artis-Quartet and a teacher of chamber music at the University of Graz. Christopher Hinterhuber, who takes the piano part in these works, has as a claim to fame in that his are the "hands" seen at the keyboard in the award-winning film 'La Pianiste', for which he also recorded the soundtrack. He is the winner of several international piano competitions and has taught that instrument at the University for Music in Vienna (see his website for further information). Ernst Ottensamer, who joins them for the Trio, is principal clarinet in the Vienna Philharmonic and a professor at the University for Music in Vienna. 

The playing of this very distinguished group of performers is a pleasure in itself. 

Julie Williams 

see also Review by William Kreindler



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