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
by William Kreindler