Brahms (1833-97) devoted much of the 1880s to his three Piano Trios, having decided, as he told a friend, that there was “no further point in attempting an opera or a marriage”. They are among his less familiar chamber works. He originally wrote No 1 as a young man, overhauling it more than three decades later in 1889. All three works – the B major Op 8, C major Op 87 and C minor Op 101 – have a tender, shadowy intensity, without quite the same heart-on-sleeve fervour of the bigger chamber works. The string players here – brother and sister Christian and Tanja Tetzlaff – are regular quartet partners. Together with sensitive pianism from Lars Vogt, ensemble is alert, accurate, never forced: already a favourite CD.
Christian Tetzlaff’s effortless virtuosity, purity of intonation, and slight emotional reticence perfectly suits Sibelius, making this the finest available collection of the Finnish composer’s music for violin and orchestra. In the concerto, Tetzlaff’s relative coolness makes the music sound more like Sibelius and less like a violin concerto, which is all to the good. That doesn’t mean he lacks anything in sheer technique: indeed, his first-movement cadenza impresses as one of the most impressively concentrated and musically satisfying on disc. Tetzlaff’s slow movement sings but avoids panting and heaving, while the finale realizes the music’s gentle melancholy as well as its more thrusting elements. He’s nicely accompanied by Thomas Dausgaard, whose gentle support perfectly suits the overall interpretation.
In this new concerto album one of the greatest violinists of our time, Christian Tetzlaff, performs two standard violin concertos in fresh new interpretations together with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin directed by the orchestra’s exciting new music director, Robin Ticciati. Both Ludwig van Beethoven and Jean Sibelius made outstanding contributions to the history of music as great symphonists. Both composers also wrote a violin concerto – Beethoven wrote his D major concerto in 1806, Sibelius his D minor concerto a century later.
Lars Vogt continues his cycle of Beethovens Piano Concertos with the Royal Northern Sinfonia. On this second volume, the recording also includes Beethovens Triple Concerto where Lars Vogt is joined together with his longtime artistic partners Christian Tetzlaff and Tanja Tetzlaff. Vogts recordings of chamber music with the trio have gathered astonishing reviews and recording awards, including a Grammy nomination for the recording of Brahms Piano Trios (ODE 1271-2D).
This performance of the fiery Fantasy in G minor for violin and orchestra, Op. 24, of Josef Suk, with violinist Christan Tetzlaff catching the full impact of the irregular form with its dramatic opening giving out into a set of variations, is impressive. And Tetzlaff delivers pure warm melody in the popular Romance in F minor, Op. 11, of Dvorák. But the real reason to acquire this beautifully recorded Ondine release is the performance of the Dvorák Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53, a work of which there are plenty of recordings, but that has always played second fiddle (if you will) to the Brahms concerto. Tetzlaff and the Helsinki Philharmonic under John Storgårds create a distinctive and absorbing version that can stand with the great Czech recordings of the work. Sample anywhere, but especially the slow movement, where Tetzlaff's precise yet rich sound, reminiscent for those of a certain age of Henryk Szeryng, forms a striking contrast with Storgårds' glassy Nordic strings. In both outer movements as well, Tetzlaff delivers a warm yet controlled performance that is made to stand out sharply.