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CD Review

Erich Wolfgang von Korngold

Chamber Works

  • Piano Trio, Op. 1
  • Suite, Op. 23
Mathias Wollong, violin
Trio Parnassus
Dabringhaus & Grimm MDG3031463-2 69m DDD
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Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) is one of those rare breed of composers who succeeded in taking the musical world by storm very early in their life, but by the time of their death ending up virtually cast aside. Aged 11, he was already making a name for himself by getting his compositions published, and before he was 20, he was regarded as "The Violin Wonderkid".

The two works on this disc reveal not only the composer's fecund imagination but also his wonderful sense of rhythm and balance. The Piano Trio, Op. 1 dates from 1910 when Korngold was just 13, and in it, the composer displays a harmonic boldness that goes beyond what Richard Strauss and Max Reger were writing at the time. The work is also permeated by a certain restlessness and stormy energy that holds the listener sharply concentrated.

The 1930 Suite for 2 violins, cello and left hand piano is amazingly rich in ideas and unexpected twists, and marks a climax in Korngold's chamber oeuvre. Suffice to say that it receives a marvelous interpretation from the Trio Parnassus who play with superb co-ordination and a crispiness which is actually rather infectious. Notes and recordings are up to MD&G's usual high standards with some splendid artwork on the front cover an added bonus from this enterprising German label.

Copyright © 2008, Gerald Fenech