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David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2020

To Austria’s Musical Establishment the young Erich Wolfgang Korngold presented the dawn of a new era to replicate the precocious Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

In many ways the complexity that had entered into music since Mozart’s Eighteenth century presented a whole new and much greater challenge to Korngold, who, at the age of twelve years had just completed a Piano Trio in four movements that lasted just over thirty minutes. It was in every way a remarkable achievement, not least that it also acknowledged the changes that had taken place in the early years of the Twentieth Century. To this he had equally integrated the conventional tonality that he had assimilated from his mentors. He did have a debt to the era of Richard Strauss, that is evident, and it begged the question ‘where would this lead?’ That answer came five years later with the String Sextet. That freshness of youthful exuberance is replaced by a considered work where interplay between instruments, and the fabric it produced, is of considerable beauty. Its length is even more extensive, and, unlike the Piano Trio, there is sadness that probably spilled over from the operas this rapidly maturing teenager was composing. This is particularly true of the long Adagio, the mood totally changed by the pro-active and happy final Presto. Both performances from the Spectrum Concerts Berlin are superb, Eldar Nebolsin’s piano perfectly balanced with the string duo, while the Sextet is characterised by the infinite detail in the recorded sound. © 2020 David’s Review Corner

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