MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around   2022
 57,903 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount


Support us financially by purchasing this from
Hans PFITZNER (1869-1949)
Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. posth. (1888) [23:16]
Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 52 (1943) [17:59]
Cello Concerto in G major, Op. 42 (1935) [14:22]
Duo for cello, violin and small orchestra, Op. 43 (1937) [14:22]
Alban Gerhardt (cello)
Gergana Gergova (violin) (Duo)
Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin/Sebastian Weigle
rec. 18-21 June 2012, Haus des Rundfunks, Berlin, Germany
The Romantic Cello Concerto - Volume 4
HYPERION CDA67906 [67:30]

The four works here featuring the cello as a solo instrument are from the pen of German post-Romantic composer Hans Pfitzner. A self-described anti-modernist and passionately nationalist Pfitzner was actually Russian-born.
His music is rarely heard with the exception of occasional revivals of his opera Palestrina or ‘musical legend’ as he called it, or orchestral extracts from it. Of all the claims made for the various merits of neglected composers I believe Pfitzner’s music makes one of the strongest. My recent discoveries have included his Quintet for piano and string quartet (1908), the Sextet for clarinet, violin, viola, cello, double bass and piano (1946) and the Piano Concerto, Op. 31 (1922). His four string quartets warrant further investigation.
The Cello Concerto in A minor was written in 1888 whilst Pfitzner was still a student at Frankfurt’s Hoch Conservatory but was a work unloved by his teachers. During the composer’s lifetime the manuscript was lost and lay unperformed until 1977 with publication the following year. Taking here just over twenty-three minutes the work is in two substantial sections. I especially enjoyed the aching tenderness Gerhardt finds in the second section marked Adagio molto tranquillo.
Nearly fifty years later the Cello Concerto in G major, Op. 42 was written for Gaspar Cassadó. Relatively short in duration at just over fourteen minutes the score is designed in a single continuous span indexed here into five sections. Its second movement is imbued with lyricism and is notable for its wide dynamics and contrasting moods.
A couple of years prior to the outbreak of the Second World War in 1937 Pfitzner wrote his attractive if not particularly memorable Duo for cello, violin and small orchestra, Op. 43. At just under twelve minutes this compact work without a key signature has a single movement span with three discrete sections. It feels as if the two instruments are engaged in deep conversation. Bathed in warm summer sun the melodic Finale, marked Ganze Takte, is especially attractive.

Composed in 1943 in the midst of the Second World War the last of Pfitzner’s concertos is the Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 52. The composer weaves in the main theme from his teenage Cello Concerto in the same key. Divided into four movements this is a modestly scored work. I found the second movement marked Nicht zu schnell both briskly energetic and windswept. I was captivated by the following calm and poignant Feierlich.
These lyrical, highly agreeable, undemanding and highly Romantic concertos inhabit a similar sound-world. In truth they offer little in the way of dramatic tension.
Cellist Alban Gerhardt a composed and elegant player, who I have seen a couple of times in live concert, is at one with these scores and takes them all in his stride. With exemplary, highly refined playing he aptly displays the beautiful tone of his Matteo Goffriller cello. In the Duo violinist Gergova playing her Guadagnini is beautifully poised and does everything the score asks of her. The excellent Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin under Sebastian Weigle earns top marks as a constantly sympathetic partner. This Hyperion release has been beautifully recorded at the Haus des Rundfunks, Berlin in 2012 by the team of Eadon, Keener and Perry.
It would be hard to imagine Pfitzner’s Cello Concertos and Duo receiving finer performances.
Michael Cookson
Previous reviews: David Barker and Rob Barnett