Fine music in fine performances
G.D. | Norway | 02/12/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Emil Hartmann was for the most of his life overshadowed by his father J.P.E., and while his music might lack the individuality of the older composer's, he was a pretty good composer himself - at least on the evidence of this disc. He surely knew how to construct a cogent musical structure and create an appealing melody, and if you don't demand radical originality, there is much of pleasure to find in this release of his three concertos.
The violin concerto from 1876 is perhaps the best work on the disc, clearly written under the influence of Mendelssohn and perhaps Schumann. There are some very appealing tunes and themes here, and Hartmann displays inventiveness and skill in developing them - in addition to providing some very interesting instrumental touches in the orchestration. The cello concerto isn't, in the end, quite on the same level, but it includes a very fine third movement. The piano concerto is perhaps a little more forward-looking (but not much), at times darkly lyrical and at times brilliant and catchy. Throughout, Hartmann is consistently at his best in the lighter, more lyrical parts, and he has that curious and rather rare ability to create memorable last movements.
None of the concertos are particularly long, and none are technically very difficult (at least compared to some of the more famous concertos of the time). The soloists are fine, however, and able to bring out the various nuances in the music and let it sing (which is probably the most important requirement of the performer here). They are accompanied by the fine playing of the Helsingborg Symphony orchestra under Hannu Lintu, and the sound quality is great. Recommended"