Sämtliche Klavierkonzerte Vol.1
Ernst Krenek
Mikhail Korzhev / Kenneth Woods / English Sinfonie Or.


Releasedate: 30.06.2016

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€ 17.90


Sämtliche Klavierkonzerte Vol.1

The piano concertos of Ernst Krenek (1900–91) are major contributions to the twentieth-century repertoire, comparable to those of Bartók, Prokofiev, Schoenberg and Shostakovich, but astonishingly two of them have never had commercial recordings – an omission this series seeks to redress. Piano Concertos Nos. 1–3, written between 1923 and 1946, show Krenek throwing off the constraints of tonality in favour of a freewheeling, individual use of twelve-tone technique, brimming with colour and often animated with a keen sense of wit.

CD Track Titel Dauer Komponist PLAY
1     1. Moderato - 5:37    
2     2. Allegro agitato - 11:01    
3     3. Adagio - 3:03    
4     4. Allegro moderato (Tempo di Mi… 10:54    
5     1. Andante dolcissimo, celeste - 5:52    
6     2. Allegro assai, con ferocità - 6:28    
7     3. Quasi cadenza 3:25    
8     4. Canon in der Umkehrung: Adagi… 5:06    
9     4.Alegretto vivace, molto grazio… 4:13    
10     1. Allegro, con passione - 1:57    
11     2. Andante sostenuto - 3:49    
12     3. Poco più mosso - 1:41    
13     4. Adagio - 2:42    
14     5. Vivace 2:50    

A splendid disc, both performances and recordings being first class. MusicWeb, Sept'16 /// I cannot imagine finer performances of Ernst Krenek's piano concertos than these from Mikhail Korzhev with the English Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Woods. Classical Reviewer, April'16

Ernst Krenek? If he's remembered at all, it's for his jazzy Weimar Republic opera Johnny spielt auf. This was an international hit after its 1927 premiere, though swiftly banned when the Nazis came to power. Krenek rubbed shoulders with many 20th century greats, before fleeing to the US in 1938; he remained there, teaching and composing until his death in 1991. He's an important figure, so this disc deserves a warm welcome. Krenek wrote four piano concertos and here are Nos. 1-3, written between 1923 and 1946. No. 1 is tonal though highly chromatic. Orchestrated with dazzlingly clarity, it's a real find, the brief slow movement wonderfully eerie. The concerto's close is quietly brilliant, the minuet fizzling out into calm silence. The Concerto No. 2 is completely different: five dark movements written in a highly approachable 12-note idiom, the angst and nostalgia reflecting Krenek's respect for Berg's music. Again, there's a wonderful ending, the disconcerting but deeply satisfying fade to black entirely appropriate for a work written in 1937. Both are superb appetisers for Krenek's startlingly brilliant Third Concerto, its 13 minutes smarter than many 50-minute symphonies. Five short movements have the soloist sparring with different orchestral sections, before a rousing atonal fugue closes proceedings like a grumpier, dodecaphonic version of Britten's Young Person's Guide. At one point the soloist duets with the orchestral harpist by reaching inside the lid and strumming the piano strings. Mikhail Korzhev is a heroic soloist, gamely accompanied by Kenneth Wood's English Symphony Orchestra. Brass and percussion are particularly impressive. And what good sleeve notes: three essays, by music historian, conductor and pianist respectively. Each one a joy to read and full of insight, outlining with erudition and passionate enthusiasm exactly why these pieces demand to be heard. More please. Artsdesk, April16

The performances are exceptionally good, with Mikail Korzhev proving a terrific virtuoso and highly sensitive musician. A most valuable disc. *****. Musical Opinion,July-Sept'16. /// Within a catalogue of close to 250 works, Krenek's first three piano concertos-nos 1 and 2 recorded here for the first time. No.1 is brashly slapdash-but also has substance, with plenty of bold projected, rather Hindemith-like harmony and counterpoint. Gramophone, May'16


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