KRENEK Complete Piano Concertos Vol 2

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Ernst Krenek

Genre:

Orchestral

Label: Toccata Classics

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: TOCC0392

TOCC0392. KRENEK Complete Piano Concertos Vol 2

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Double Concerto for Violin and Piano Mikhail Korzhev
Ernst Krenek Composer
English Symphony Orchestra
Kenneth Woods
Nurit Pacht
Piano Concerto No 4 Mikhail Korzhev
English Symphony Orchestra
Ernst Krenek Composer
Kenneth Woods
Little Concerto for Piano and Organ Kenneth Woods
Ernst Krenek Composer
Adrian Partington
Mikhail Korzhev
English Symphony Orchestra
Concerto for Two Pianos Eric Huebner
Ernst Krenek Composer
English Symphony Orchestra
Kenneth Woods
Mikhail Korzhev
There are still sceptics who cling to the notion that an atonal melody is a contradiction in terms. Such diehards would meet an elegant riposte with the opening of Krenek’s Fourth Piano Concerto (1951): angular in shape, yes, but hardly more so than a minor-key quartet melody of Haydn, and developed with a comparable, resourceful invention. The opening percussive shimmer has become a cliché of contemporary British composers but Krenek demanded more from himself. Within its cosmopolitan, mid-century, mid-Atlantic idiom, this music is always heading somewhere with a purpose, underpinned by a thoroughgoing Austro-German understanding of harmony and counterpoint, tension and breadth, cause and effect. Émigré Schoenberg and Bartók offer points of orientation but the more eclectic, jazz-influenced Krenek surfaces halfway through the Fourth’s nocturnal Adagio, in winding countermelodies for clarinet and trumpet that could have been written for Benny and Dizzy.

Ländlers, marches and waltzes are the stuff of the less ambitious, more suite-like constructions of the double concertos as they shift between affection, irony and even savagery. For all its evident challenges, Krenek’s solo writing always sounds pianistic in the hands of Mikhail Korshev, whose touch is necessarily robust but not clangorous in spiky dialogue with Nurit Pacht’s violin and afforded plenty of resounding space by the recording in the Wyastone Leys concert hall. I’ve only praise, too, for the supporting energy of Kenneth Woods and the English Symphony Orchestra, who play with the conviction that this is music worth believing in.

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