Author Topic: Hans Pfitzner  (Read 23113 times)

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cilgwyn

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #80 on: March 24, 2018, 06:10:05 AM »
I don't think Pfitzner has many admirers here;but I listened to his Piano concerto a few weeks ago;and,for some strange reason,I rather enjoyed it. Even finding it strangely absorbing. It could do with some really good tunes;but I think it's the fact that it wasn't a conventional barn stormer that appealed to me. Allot of it seemed to unfold in a meditative,ruminative,manner over a long expanse of time. It also had that Germanic quality,which appeals to me,but without being one of those conventional,noisy barn stormer's I referred to earlier.  I'm not saying it's the best thing since sliced bread;but I might even buy the Cpo cd,eventually! His symphonies are also not quite the throw backs I expected,either. For some reason I put the Leo Ornstein Piano concerto (on Youtube) on the same cd-r as the Pfitzner. That really did get my attention!!!! Anyone else here,heard that one?

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #81 on: March 24, 2018, 07:54:28 AM »
I don't think Pfitzner has many admirers here;but I listened to his Piano concerto a few weeks ago;and,for some strange reason,I rather enjoyed it. Even finding it strangely absorbing. It could do with some really good tunes;but I think it's the fact that it wasn't a conventional barn stormer that appealed to me. Allot of it seemed to unfold in a meditative,ruminative,manner over a long expanse of time. It also had that Germanic quality,which appeals to me,but without being one of those conventional,noisy barn stormer's I referred to earlier.  I'm not saying it's the best thing since sliced bread;but I might even buy the Cpo cd,eventually! His symphonies are also not quite the throw backs I expected,either. For some reason I put the Leo Ornstein Piano concerto (on Youtube) on the same cd-r as the Pfitzner. That really did get my attention!!!! Anyone else here,heard that one?
Don't know much about Pfitzner who appears to have had a rather ambivalent relationship with the Nazis. I have a CD of Ornstein's piano sonatas on Naxos which I recall enjoying.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

cilgwyn

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #82 on: March 24, 2018, 09:11:58 AM »
Yes,I wouldn't suggest rushing out to buy that one. I quite like the ruminative mood,which seems to unfold over a long time span,with little,apparent,action. Some might refer to it as noodling! ;D There is a noisy bit,though. I quite like that brooding Germanic sound. Albeit,not the Hitler/Nazi kind,of course!! I suppose Reger's Symphonic prologue to a tragedy,is another example. I like it's glowering,brooding,Germanic,demeanour,with fun,noisy climaxes. The Schwann recording almost,literally,struggling with the sound level,adding to the feeling of something huge and portentous. If only it had a really good tune!! The Pfitzner might have just suited the mood I was in. As I said;I might buy it,at some point! I might not! Not something to get too excited about. Yes,his politics is a bit off putting! ::) But I try to separate the two,if the music is of any interest,or value. I also notice that his Symphonies are not quite what I expected. I think with someone like Pfitzner,I tend to assume that his music is going to be Wagnerian;ie noisy and blustering. It's just a bit different to what I expect. But no,I can't say I've heard anything,so far,that makes me go,"I'm going to have to buy a cd of that! And,with respect to my bank balance;maybe,I should be grateful to Pfitzner for that!! ;D
I do have the Naxos releases of his recordings of Beethoven symphonies,made in the twenties;and I think his interpretations are worth hearing.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #83 on: March 24, 2018, 09:32:13 AM »
Pfitzner did have sympathies with some Nazi causes but he was such a curmudgeon that he alienated himself from them and did not rise to any powerful positions during the Third Reich. (Despite his antisemitism he apparently also kept a cordial correspondence with Bruno Walter, even after the war. He was a strange and troubled guy in many ways, it seems)
I only know some of his music and that not very well. The chamber music on cpo is worth exploring. Pfitzner sounds less learned and more passionately romantic than Reger. Think of late romantic/fin de siècle with some archromantic Schumannian flavor mixed in. The Eichendorff Cantata is a fascinating piece that illustrates that dark romanticism (the curse? of the "German Soul").

The opera "Palestrina" is probably the Pfitzner piece that has been best served on disk and has also been surviving on stage, although not quite in the mainstream. (There are a few other operas that apparently used to be somewhat popular at least in German speaking countries.)
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #84 on: March 24, 2018, 09:41:42 AM »
I found the Wiki article on Pfitzner to be most interesting and featuring a great photo of the composer c.1910:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Pfitzner

I liked it that he refused to write music for 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' to replace that written by Medelssohn, during the Nazi era, stating that nothing he wrote would be as good as Mendelssohn's score!
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 09:44:44 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

cilgwyn

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #85 on: March 26, 2018, 07:19:03 AM »
Good for him! Ultimately,he doesn't seem to have done very well out of his support for that regime,though! It's interesting to note,reading some of the posts on this thread,that enthusiasm expressed for Pfitzner's music,doesn't seem to have led to more posts. Presumably,initial enthusiasm palled? Or maybe,Pfitzner enthusiasts like to keep their enthusiasm to themselves?!! :-\ ;D
His recordings of Beethoven symphonies are,certainly,worth hearing,now and again;through the shellac hiss,pop and crackle,imho!

Offline Kentel

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #86 on: March 26, 2018, 11:48:16 AM »
I spent some time exploring Pfitzner's oeuvre some years ago, and I must admit that I havn't been really convinced.

He writes in a very compact way, with loads of chromatisms and counterpoints everywhere, which makes his pieces rather thick. His style is close to Reger's and lesser known post wagnerians like Wetz for ex. Melodically it's hard to say, since his themes are drowned into harmonic contorsions and detours. Orchestrally, he has a feeling for strings : this is particularly true for the overture of his, otherwise dull, opera Palestrina, and some parts of his unique symphony. But he almost completely ignores the other instruments.

I found his orchestral pieces (including a violin concerto) and chamber works (trio and string quartets) rather boring.

All in all, it is pretty much academic, full of romantic clichés (musically and litterary) and one couldn't say it's original. But it's very well crafted.

In order to finish my comment with a more positive note, I must say that I have been deeply impressed by some of his lieder, a genre in which he seemed more at ease. It's not original (rather post-Brahmsian), but it's beautifully written. There he's closer to Wolf than to Reger, to the joy of the listener, and I would recomand particularly the lieder op.3, 5, 6 18 & 40 in the series published by CPO.

Here's one of my favorites : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vKWMMqiI0o

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #87 on: March 26, 2018, 12:27:31 PM »
Good for him! Ultimately,he doesn't seem to have done very well out of his support for that regime,though! It's interesting to note,reading some of the posts on this thread,that enthusiasm expressed for Pfitzner's music,doesn't seem to have led to more posts. Presumably,initial enthusiasm palled? Or maybe,Pfitzner enthusiasts like to keep their enthusiasm to themselves?!! :-\ ;D
His recordings of Beethoven symphonies are,certainly,worth hearing,now and again;through the shellac hiss,pop and crackle,imho!

He wasn't a system-friendly Nazi... he was an inconvenient Nazi. Hitler is said not to have liked him and, anecdotally, referred to him as "that old Rabbi". Yet Pfitzner expected to be treated by the regime as THE German composer. More damning yet, he was unrepentant after the war and didn't quite "get" how it was all to have been so bad. Bruno Walter eventually gave up on him... suggesting that he was too complex and contradictory to remain friends with. (Or something along those lines; haven't got the exact quote at hand though I might have used it in my writing about Pfitzner somewhere.)

Offline Daverz

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #88 on: March 26, 2018, 01:20:24 PM »
I'm fond of the Symphony in C major, and Palestrina is a gorgeous wallow.


« Last Edit: March 26, 2018, 01:27:22 PM by Daverz »

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #89 on: April 20, 2020, 07:21:43 AM »
TTT! after two years - this thread lasted just a few days without much in the way of recordings being discussed - now listening to my modest Pfitzner collection, just the top 4 CDs below (bought as a CPO box 10 years ago which has not seen my CD player in a long while!) - but this morning, I'm enjoying all from this rather 'complicated' composer (see the earlier link to his Wiki bio) - in fact, just ordered the 2 CDs at the bottom of his Cello Concerti and Piano Quintet/Sextet.

For those interested, reviews attached of the top four discs - hope others will jump in to refreshen this thread - Dave :)


     

 

Offline Jo498

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #90 on: April 20, 2020, 07:56:26 AM »
I also have the five cpo discs, the first four of which were put together in a box that also had the first Friedrich paining as a cover. I also have the piano concerto from cpo. One relevant chamber work that is missing, is the cello sonata. There is maybe also a recording with Gerhardt, I got one on ArteNova with Schiefen (coupled with the early sonata by R. Strauss).
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Online MusicTurner

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #91 on: April 20, 2020, 08:18:55 AM »
I've recently enjoyed the Altenberg Trio's recording of the early Piano Trio op.8. Years ago I listened quite a lot to some of the - often somewhat Autumnal - orchestral works (symphony op.36, piano concerto, cello concertos).

This is my modest collection:

LP  ”Palestrina”, Opera (1912-15)/Kubelik,F-Dieskau,Gedda,BayrRSO/dg 4lp 2740 223
lp   "Palestrina", 3 Orchestral Preludes (1912-15)/Leitner,BPO/dg 2543 822 + dg 2lp 2726 074

LP   "Von Deutscher Seele", Cantata op.20 ()/Keilberth,Soli,BayRSO/dg 2lp 2727 008

CD   "Symphony", cis-mol op.36a (after Str4)(1932)/Albert,BambSO/cpo 92 999 136-2

CD  "1.Cello Concerto" a-mol (1888)/Geringas,Albert,BambSO/cpo 93 999 135-2
lp    "Piano Concerto" op.31 ()/Gieseking,Bittner,HambPO/discocorp mono 43-xx igi 363
CD  "Violin Concerto" h-mol op.34 (1924)/Gawriloff,Albert,BambSO/cpo 90 999 079-2
CD  "2.Cello Concerto" G-Dur op.42 (1935)/Geringas,Albert,BambSO/cpo 93 999 135-2
CD  "Duo f. Violin, Cello & Orchestra" op.43 (1937)/Gawriloff,Berger,Albert,BambSO/cpo 90 999 079-2
CD  "3.Cello Concerto"  a-mol op.52 (1943)/Geringas,Albert,BambSO/cpo 93 999 135-2

CD  "Scherzo" f.Orchestra (1888)/Albert,BambSO/cpo 90 999 079-2
CD  "Elegie und Reigen" f.Orchestra op.45 (1939)/Albert,BambSO/cpo 92 999 136-2
CD  "Fantasie" f.Orchestra op.56 (1947)/Albert,BambSO/cpo 92 999 136-2

CD   Pfitzner/Frommer:”Piano Trio” B-Dur (1886)/RobertSchumann3/cpo 01 999 736-2
CD   ”Piano Trio” F-Dur op.8 (1896)/RobertSchumann3/cpo 01 999 736-2
cd    "Piano Trio” F-Dur op.8 (1896)/AltenbergTrio/challenge classics 02 cc72092

LP   ”1.Cello Sonata” fis-mol op.1 (1890)/Mantel,Frieser/mhs 1590

LP   ”5 Piano Pieces” op.47 (1941)/E.Frieser/mhs 1590
« Last Edit: April 20, 2020, 11:37:04 AM by MusicTurner »

Offline André

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Re: Hans Pfitzner
« Reply #92 on: November 05, 2020, 04:55:27 PM »


This was my first exposure to Pfitzner’s music. I hadn’t expected anything special but the piece bowled me over.

Then I listened to the violin concerto and had the same reaction. The first movement is based on an upward leap followed by a downward arpeggio, eerily similar to a movement of Ysaÿe’s second solo violin sonata (Les Furies, from sonata no 2). I checked the latter’s date and found that it had been published the year before Pfitzner wrote his concerto. I really wonder at the coincidence. Be that as it may, it’s a remarkable movement. The second is an orchestral intermezzo (the violin remains silent throughout). Somber and uneasy music. The finale is a hugely tuneful piece of work, quite the showpiece IMO. Remarkable. Next on that 2 disc set are 2 string quartets (2 and 3). I’ll be listening to them shortly.


In the mail are the Wergo recording of Von deuscher Seele under Hollreiser



and the orchestral works under Thielemann. I might buy the 5-disc set of orchestral works on CPO.

I’m not sure about Palestrina though. It might be quite an undertaking without the visual element. Any recommended DVD?