One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

TROUBADISC

colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
Vivaldi
9 cello sonatas
Dussek
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley n/a
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!


Quite splendid


Winning performances


Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc


a huge talent


A wonderful disc


Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!


Roth’s finest Mahler yet


Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932)
Cello Concerto No.1 (1893) [28:19]
Cello Concerto No.2 (1909) [18:38]
Cello Concerto No.3 (1928) [14:51]
Gregor Horsch (cello)
Netherlands Symphony Orchestra/David Porcelijn
rec. June 2006, Enschede Musikzentrum
CPO 777 234-2 [62:36]

Röntgen had the same sort of ground-plan for his three cello concertos. There is, if you’ll forgive the allusion, not very much in the way of introductory foreplay. He tends to get stuck right in. The mission is to integrate the solo cello without any Late-Romantic bluster, but the insinuation can take a variety of forms. In the case of the 1893 First Concerto, he launches a long cellistic cantilena interrupted by brief orchestral chords. This quasi-cadential approach is Röntgen’s metier and something of an idée fixe, in fact. Certainly there must be some influence via his cousin, Julius Klengel, the great cellist whose own concertos presumably had an influence on Röntgen’s own.
 
Sub-divided into three movements this concerto has a Schumannesque feel, not least in regard to proportion. There’s a substantial first-movement cadenza. The central movement is lightly orchestrated, deftly drawn and charmingly projected. It’s an Intermezzo, in effect, at least in my book, though it’s defined as a poco andante. His finale seems to reference Paganini’s La Campanella for some reason, and though there are also hints of a Sarasate influence, the music isn’t overtly virtuosic; it’s more a question of a different rhythmic stamp especially as the concerto ends genially.
 
The Second Concerto was completed in 1909, a period during which he became great friends with another even greater cellist, Casals, who premiered it in Paris in June of that year. The cello starts unaccompanied - the familiar Röntgen trope. The oboe plays a lovely second subject theme in homage to Grieg who had died in 1907 and was on Röntgen’s mind. For a moment the music veers off its axis toward Peer Gynt. This single-movement work is clearly sub-divided and there’s an especially appealing slow section in which an Irish folk-song is evoked. It’s very similar to Siúl A Rún which is the less surprising when you realise that Rontgen had just finished writing a piece for cello and piano called a Fantasy on Irish Folk Songs. It sounds for a few minutes like the Cello Concerto Hamilton Harty never wrote. The work ends con brio; another defining trait here, each concerto begins in the minor and ends in the major.
 
The Third Concerto dates from 1928. Once more, we’re straight in with the quasi-cadential cello solo. This time a celesta is used, and there’s an element of birdsong that adds new sounds. The orchestration remains lissom and light, but the final cadenza has more than a hint of Brahms about it.
 
There are competitors out there. On Etcetera KTC 1329, Arturo Muruzabal is accompanied by Paul Watkins in the first two concertos and by Henrik Schaefer in the Third (see review). CPO’s 2006 recording is the more immediate and detailed, whilst Muruzabal’s tone is rather more gruff and darker than that of Gregor Horsch.
 
The CPO performances and recording reflect well on all concerned and the notes are helpful. I can’t help feel that Röntgen didn’t quite vary his material or his structures enough over the course of these three works. There’s much that is likeable but not a great deal that is genuinely memorable. For all that, we should certainly hear one of the concertos in concert from time to time. It would make a change, and the second and third are very short.
 
Jonathan Woolf