Allison Brewster Franzetti's debut on Naxos invites the listener to compare and contrast four early modern piano works, performed with muscular vigor and sharp intelligence, and presented in a terrific-sounding album. However, this disc's title is slightly inaccurate, for among the twentieth century piano sonatas by Alban Berg, Paul Hindemith, and Karl Amadeus Hartmann is placed Arnold Schoenberg's Three Piano Pieces, which is neither a sonata nor even of the same century as the other works, as it dates from 1894.
The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, although a relatively small orchestra, is one of the most adventurous orchestras in Europe and one of the best orchestras in a country that has more symphonies per capita than any other country. Based in Helsinki, it is the primary radio orchestra of the Finnish Broadcasting Company.
Over a decade before Richard Wagner's Valkyries took their celebrated ride, August Bournonville and Johann Peter Emilius Hartmanns Valkyrie danced on the Danish stage. Born in Copenhagen, son of French dancers, Bournonville founded the national Danish ballet with a series of ballets drawing its themes from Nordic mythology and early Danish history. For his first such project, Bournonville turned to his childhood friend Hartmann, who already had established himself as a composer of music on national themes.
A native of Munich, Karl Amadeus Hartmann (1905-1963) was without a shadow of a doubt the greatest symphonist in the Central European tradition since Bruckner and Mahler. The sketches and early versions of six of his eight symphonies had their origins in one of the darkest periods in world history – from 1933 to 1945 – when the Nazis were in power and Hartmann gradually withdrew completely from public life. This period, which culminated in Hartmann’s own ‘Innere Emigration’ (inner emigration), represented a decisive turning point in his creative development…
Karl Amadeus Hartmann (2 August 1905 – 5 December 1963) was a German composer. Some have lauded him as the greatest German symphonist of the 20th century, although he is now largely overlooked, particularly in English-speaking countries. A sinewy counterpoint drives much of Hartmann's music, whether in the neo-baroque piano pieces from the 1920s, or his final two symphonies. But he could also pack a considerable punch as in the Piano Sonata, inspired by the sight of a procession of concentration camp victims from Dachau.
The Zehetmair Quartett, one of the most exciting and accomplished string quartets of our time, plays a programme of characteristically broad reach. This double album begins with Beethoven’s highly-concentrated opus 135, and concludes with Heinz Holliger’s explosions of fantasy in his 2nd String Quartet, a composition written for, and premiered by, the Zehetmair group. Bruckner’s rarely-heard C-minor quartet is, as Thomas Zehetmair notes, both touching and warm-hearted.
As is well known, the Third Reich drove many of its gifted composers into exile, to early deaths or to the concentration camps. But a significant responsibility devolved on another group, who became ‘internal exiles’, remaining in Germany, but refusing to become cultural ornaments of the Nazi regime. Karl Amadeus Hartmann (1905–1963), in Bavaria, consistently kept the spirit of modernism and human commitment alive in his own work.
One of the most important German composers to emerge during the post-World War II era, Bernd Alois Zimmermann was born in the outskirts of Cologne in 1918. Zimmermann's music frequently borders on unplayability, and it is only through the exceptional gifts of a handful of players and conductors that his powerful musical creations escaped oblivion. On these CD's his violin concerto is presented together with works by Pfitzner and Hartmann.