The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol. 79: Pfitzner, Braunfels

The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol. 79: Pfitzner, Braunfels

by Markus BeckerMarkus Becker


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The "Piano Concerto in E flat major" of Hans Pfitzner and the "Tag- und Nachtstücke" of Walter Braunfels, dating from 1922 and 1933-1934, respectively, may be the latest works chronologically in the Hyperion label's "Romantic Piano Concerto" series. Both works have been forgotten, and all that really survives of the output of either of these composers is Pfitzner's opera "Palestrina" (1917). However, the "Piano Concerto," in four movements lasting almost 45 minutes in total, is worth hearing. It's something like the piano concerto Richard Strauss never wrote, not counting the youthful "Burleske in D major." The work announces its attentions right at the beginning with big E flat sounds that bring Beethoven's "Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 74 (Emperor)" to mind, and from there it spins out a lengthy structure that seems to be trying to hold the classical sonata form together by sheer force of will. You may find it overblown, but sample "Pomphaft, mit Kraft und Schwung" to hear the full effect. The Braunfels "Tag- und Nachtstücke" ("Day and Night Pieces") have an entirely original concept. The five movements extend the piano character piece to full concerto dimensions. To these ears the work, although the movements are shorter, is a bit less coherent than the Pfitzner concerto, but anyone interested in the interwar scene and aware that not everything sounded like Schoenberg or Hindemith, will want to hear it.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/30/2019
Label: Hyperion Uk
UPC: 0034571282589
catalogNumber: 68258
Rank: 52439


  1. Tag-und Nachtstücke for orchestra & piano obbligato, Op. 44
  2. Piano Concerto in E flat major, Op. 31

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