A piece that is utterly all-over-the-place, directionless and devoid of purpose

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

… Each of four movements is introduced by a promising idea, which promptly gets lost in a mound of bombastic waffle. I have seldom heard a piece that is so utterly all-over-the-place, so directionless and devoid of purpose that the eye strays to the wristwatch (only 40 more minutes to go) and the ear prays for an armistice….

Read on here.

 

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  • Esther Cavett says:

    During WW1, Walter Braunfels wrote a wonderful opera The Birds, based on Aristophanes which has been recorded. Look out for it and thanks for alerting to this concerto

  • The View from America says:

    Both piano concertos on the recording — the Pfitzner and the Braunfels — are worth hearing.

  • Robert Groen says:

    Norman, whose idea was it to combine the utterly useless Hazy sympathizer Pfitzner and the gifted Roman Catholic half Jew Braunfels on a single CD? Heads must roll in the label management department!

  • John Borstlap says:

    The excerpts in the article are promising, especially the Braunfels piece. I never found Pfitzner very good, also not his Palestrina with all the awkward voiceleading and forced seriousness. Braunfels however, is a different league alltogether… I agree with Norman.

  • George Porter says:

    “Pfitzner’s fallen reputation is sometimes ascribed to his gruesome flirtation with the Nazis but this concerto suggests something more organically at fault.”

    Great choice for album of the week.

  • squagmogleur says:

    “I have seldom heard a piece that is so utterly all-over-the-place, so directionless and devoid of purpose that the eye strays to the wristwatch (only 40 more minutes to go) and the ear prays for an armistice.”

    Really? You should remind yourself what listening to anything by Philip Glass is like. You’ll find your words match the experience perfectly.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Glass really isn’t “all over the place”. His music doesn’t go anywhere at all, it just stays in the same place.

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    I am currently reading Cosima Wagner’s diaries. It starts around the time Wagner is writing his essay on Jews, but he also resumes work on Siegfried. Hardly an attractive character, but his genius transcends all his unattractive qualities. Lesser characters who shared his shocking anti semitism like Hans von Bulow fare less well. The same goes for Hans Pfitzner, who came later. I cannot see a Pfitzner revival any time soon, or ever.

  • Edgar Self says:

    There’s a live recording by Walter Gieseking of the Pfitzner piano concerto, wartime I think, and a modern one on cpo in their Pfitzner series.

    • The View from America says:

      … and also one on the Marco Polo label, which predates the CPO and is probably the recording that introduced most of us “of a certain age” to the piece.

      That NL is coming to this concerto only now, considering his prodigious classical music knowledge and immersion, is a mystery.

      … Or then again, maybe it isn’t.

  • batonbaton says:

    I saw this disc was coming out and thought “Interesting, worth a punt considering what I have heard of the composers’ other works” – seeing that it gets such a scathing review from NL only increases my interest.

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