Adolf Jensen (1837–79) is one of the major figures of German Romanticism, the composer of a large corpus of songs and piano music. Jensen’s musical language fuses the heritage of Schumann, Chopin and Liszt into an individual style distinguished by its melodic and lyrical appeal, and yet he has been almost entirely forgotten. This first in a series of recordings of his music hopes to restore his name to circulation.
Erling R. Eriksen, piano
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Catalogue No: TOCC0232EAN/UPC: 5060113442321Release Date: 12.05.2015Composer: Adolf Jensen Artists: Erling R. Eriksen
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Geoff Pearce :
“I was pleasantly surprised by the music of German composer Adolf Jensen (1837-1879), who flowered in the mid Romantic period. … Jensen’s Opus 44 set of Erotikon display abstract characteristics of some classical Greek dieties. To my ears they show influences of other romantic piano composers … The music is original, however, and the melodic and textural styles are all his own. … This is strong and passionate music, a little like In der Nacht of Schumann in its lyrical moodiness. I think this is the composer at his best.
Deutche Suite, Op 36, shows the composer’s keen interest in the eighteenth century keyboard music of Bach, Scarlatti and some of those immediately following them, such as Clementi and Galuppi. … This is no pastiche, however. Listen hard to these and enjoy. The Sarabande stood out for me, with its grand and ornate gestures but showing how important space and silence is as a musical device. …
Three songs, arranged for solo piano by none other than Max Reger, are all lovely and show Jensen as a gifted composer of lieder. The standout piece for me is the last, ‘Am Ufer des Flusses, des Manzanares …’, with its imitation of the strumming of the mandolin accompanying a singer. It’s truly lovely. …
If you want to hear music that is romantic, strongly melodic and individualistic, but never recorded before, then you will enjoy this disc. The music is virtuosic in style, but never flashy or coarse and the pianist here, Erling R Eriksen, is to my mind exceptional, both in how he interprets this music, and also in getting around the considerable technical difficulties and making the music sound easy … it’s not! I’m looking forward to Toccata’s second disc of Adolf Jensen’s piano music.” —Daily Classical Music, August 2015
Scott Noriega :
“Throughout his output performed here there is always one aspect which is consistent: the composer’s love of the lyrical. And though one may relate certain passages in this piece or that to another composer—Schumann often, Liszt at times, Grieg at others, even what will later be Rachmaninoff—what is most impressive is that most often Jensen sounds like no one but himself. And a tremendous pianist he must have been, as the writing in much of these works is highly virtuosic, yet filled with tender and evocative moments. The Erotikon … seem more like character studies or musical portraits than narrative pieces which tell their respective tales. But their melodic charm, their often wandering tonalities, and the numerous and varied accompaniments which the composer concocts for each are masterfully done, producing pieces which are utterly captivating from beginning to end—it is no wonder that Jensen was considered a first-rate composer of Lieder!
The Deutsche Suite … is an exploration of how various older genres can be updated by the use of pianistic figuration, more modern harmonies, and a more Romantic use of counterpoint. In these works, though he too may have been influenced by similar experiments in the music of Mendelssohn, Schumann, and even Brahms, it is clear that Bach, Scarlatti, and at times Handel too, are all keys to understanding this massive 25-minute work. The simpler textures and harmonies of the earlier works … display even better his lyrical gift, and his ability to write quality music in a simpler vein. …
Erling R. Eriksen, proves himself up to the music’s numerous challenges. His highly Romantic tendencies work well in much of this music: His pearly and rounded tone on the melodic notes, his sudden quasi-demonic outbursts of uninhibited emotion, his apt characterization, and moreover his obvious love and commitment to this music, are always in evidence. …
Recorded in excellent sound, with highly informative program notes written by Rohan Stewart-MacDonald … regarding the numerous harmonic and formal aspects of this music, there is little else to say. Oh yes: recommended!” —Fanfare Magazine, November/December 2015
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