Maderna: Piano Concerto; Violin Concerto – review

Zehetmair/Bellheim/hr-SO/Frankfurt RSO/Tamayo

If there was any doubt about when Bruno Maderna's Piano Concerto was composed, just a few minutes of the opening fix it in time quite precisely. The way in which every part of the piano is used as a sound resource, with plucked and prepared notes alongside conventionally sounding ones, places it firmly in the 1950s, when European composers were coming to terms with John Cage's experiments across the Atlantic. The orchestral writing is spare and terse, but typically for Maderna, every sound seems beautifully imagined, and the structure – two movements, each centred on a solo cadenza – is elegantly clear. A more accommodating side of Maderna emerges in the Violin Concerto, composed a decade later in 1969, with its sensuous textures, more lyrical solo writing and its patchwork of self-quotations – one of the two cadenzas recycles an earlier piece for solo violin. Like their predecessors in Neos's Maderna series, the performances, with Markus Bellheim and Thomas Zehetmair as the soloists, are exemplary.


Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

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