Pianist Thomas Trondhjem was born in Denmark in 1954. He graduated with distinction in 1983 from the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Aarhus having studied under Poul La Cour. He then made his concert debut in 1985 and since then has received prestigious awards and scholarships including the Queen Margrethe/Prince Henrik’s and the Jacob Gade. His repertoire is broad and embraces all stylistic periods. He places particular emphasis on the Viennese school, the Romantic period and the music of the last century. In this CD, Trondhjem combines theoretical understanding with practical experience to communicate ina way that is both learned and authentic.
If your Mozart piano sonatas, Schubert impromptus or Chopin nocturnes have spluttered their last then Claus Nielsen Schall will fill their shoes with music of youthful vitality. Schall flirts with Mozart’s serious frivolity in his rather courtly Dances and Allegrettos, contemplates Schubert’s philosophical introspection (tracks 2 and 5) and in his use of Eastern European folk music (particularly evident in tracks 8 and 9) he foreshadows Chopin. Unlike Chopin, Schall refrains from bipolar swings. The works of John Field would be an intriguing complement. His works for piano reveal his interest in the driving forces behind human personality and is expressed through Trondhjem’s nimble and accurate fingers.
Schall composes with a strange amalgam of quaint ornamentation and rough charm. With rhythmic surprises, a jovial lilt which sometimes drives in a stark, Germanic vein it would be easy to deliver a melancholic and distractingly exaggerated performance. Despite this unpredictability Trondhjem remains grounded and conveys the overall emotion of each piece with humble elegance. As Schall’s phrasal boundaries could sometimes seem stark, Trondhjem renders them more malleable, evincing the vast gamut of textures a piano offers to articulate the emotional journey within Schall’s structures. For the listener, this dialogue between composer and performer is most interesting and subtly percolates through each piece.
Danish composer Hardenack Otto Conrad Zinck was a musical prodigy, taught from infancy by his father. At the age of five he performed for King Frederick V of Denmark and before he turned twelve he could play the violin, flute and piano. He later studied music and sang under the guidance of his idol, C.P.E. Bach.
Believing that the most exquisite and truthful musical patterns and all good intentions reflected wholly harmonious human feelings; Zinck embraced the notion of Empfindsamkeit. Sometimes saccharine in its sentimentality, this sensitivity; through Zinck’s highly developed, diverse and descriptive melodic style, is devoid of sickly, naïve piety and plodding conformity.
When Zinck’s sonatas were first published in 1783, they were welcomed warmly. Trondhjem’s intriguing blend of grace, fidelity and drama elevates Zinck’s compositions out of the realm of post-harpsichord keyboard pieces to valuable components of the piano repertoire. In particular the Sonata in C Major (especially track 17) and the Adagio in D Minor (track 23) are piano works which require serious contemplation. They compare favourably with the fussy Menuets which are trifling little songs in comparison. Nevertheless, Trondhjem delivers both styles with charm and sincerity.
It should be noted that Trondhjem and CDKlassisk have already given us two other volumes in this Zinck piano works series: CDK1012 (2009) and CDK1056 (2011).