Pfitzner: Cello Concertos

Fri, Mar 28, 2014, 00:00


The Romantic Cello Concerto — 4

Alban Gerhardt, Gergana Gergova, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Sebastian Weigle



Hans Pfitzner wrote three cello concertos, the first as a 19-year-old in 1888 (eight years before the première of Dvorak’s great Concerto in B minor). The others were in 1935 and 1943, when Pfitzner had become celebrated as a kind of bulwark against musical modernism. At 23 minutes, the earliest work is the longest and the one most concerned with traditional virtuosity. The later concertos (13 and 18 minutes) are more introspective and more complex. The disc also includes the 1937 Duo for violin (Gergana Gergova), cello and small orchestra, a work with moments of a peculiarly melting beauty. The performances present the wistful peculiarities of Pfitzner’s often austere style in an appealing light.