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Richard Kraus
MusicWeb International, June 2016

Blome offers nuanced, at times powerful performances, getting the most out of these second-tier works. Brahms and Bartok can survive mediocre playing, but an unfamiliar composer like Frommel cannot, so Blome’s dextrous promotion does his work a great service.

The best of these four is probably the single-movement Piano Sonata No. 5. The work is rhythmically interesting, generally restive, with angular themes in a somewhat episodic version of sonata form. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2016

It is now almost four years ago that I welcomed the first of two discs containing the complete piano sonatas of Gerhard Frommel, a long forgotten German composer. His biography gives his birth as 1906, and details his life as a composer falling under the influence of Hans Pfitzner, that in turn taking him into a world of tonality that was long out of date before he began composing. That did not deter him, and he wrote a substantial catalogue of works that included two symphonies and two violin concertos. Among his keyboard works were the seven sonatas that he thought summed up his emergence as a composer as they punctuated his life, the last four coming over the period 1943 to 1966, though he was still revising the Fifth in 1982, two years before his death. Maybe he saw in the works more about his development than I find listening to them. The Fourth is a good example, as it takes us back, stylistically, to a era before his First and will give considerable pleasure to those who enjoy the comforting warmth of the Late Romantic era. The Fifth is unusual in being in one movement with seven sections, and flirts with so many different influences, including a jazzy rhythm, so that you never know what period you are in. That becomes more clear in the Sixth, for this is in the jerky world of Stravinsky and Prokofiev in their Paris years, sugary-sweet melodies inserted to soften the mood. Finally to the Seventh, a score the composer described as ‘stretching to the limit what I have learned about modern music’. It was certainly leaving the comfortable era of his Fourth, though it does rather meander through three movements, its final Allegro not the culmination I was looking for. I guess—without seeing the scores—that the young German pianist, Tatjana Blome, has done everything possible for the music, and the clarity of her fingers certainly makes clear the various strands in complex passages. The Munich radio studio engineers offer a superb recording. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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