Karel Reiner: Music for Cello

Catalogue No: TOCC0083
EAN/UPC: 5060113440839
Release Date: 2012-02-13
Composer: Karel Reiner
Artists: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Matti Raekallio, Sebastian Foron, Zdeněk Mácal

Karel Reiner (1910-79) — a major missing voice in Czech music — suffered under both of twentieth-century Europe's major tyrannies. As a Jew he was imprisoned by the Nazis, miraculously surviving a series of atrocities: Terezín, Auschwitz, a camp near Dachau and a death march. Then, back in Prague after the War, he was accused of 'formalism’ by the Communists. This first CD of a series reviving Reiner's music presents the large-scale Concerto he completed just before his internment in Terezín — and first heard, in this live performance, only in 2010 — and three chamber pieces which evolve though echoes of Janáček and Martinů to the brittle humour of the Stravinskyan Verses, one of his last works.

Sebastian Foron, cello
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, orchestra
Zdeněk Mácal, conductor
Matti Raekallio, piano

4 reviews for Karel Reiner: Music for Cello

  1. :

    ‘…As the music is programmed chronologically one can trace Reiner’s development immediately via the 1946 Sonata brevis, an exceptionally fluent, kaleidoscopically intriguing work. …The Elegy and Capriccio followed over a decade later, where there’s more yearning and explicit romanticism than one would have expected from Reiner, at least in the Elegy. The Capriccio is genial, quicksilver, and delightfully performed. …Sections here [Verses for viola and piano] are most revealing of Reiner’s affiliation with the Second Viennese School. More than that: one can hear those elements of contrast that are so much a part of Reiner’s musical thought and which repay study. There is a very interesting booklet to read, and excellently engineered recordings to admire.’

    —Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International

  2. :

    ‘[…] is a difficult work in terms of the technical demands placed on both musicians, and the intensity of its expression is more than compelling, especially in such as performances as this […] The performances of the Sonata Brevis and of the Elegy and Capriccio are stunningly good […]The recording quality throughout is good – and of the studio recordings, very good.’

    —Robert Matthew-Walker, International Record Review June 2012

  3. :

    ‘This release is of major significance not only because of the inherent power and intricacy of the music itself but because it opens up a perspective on a little-known world of the between-the-wars Czech avant-garde. […]

    The abruptly shattering opening of Reiner’s 1941–43 Cello Concerto, written just before he and his wife were marched off to Terezín, gives immediate and startling notice that this is music not to be trifled with, music of utterly consistent seriousness and integrity, of a prickly intelligence and force but never purely cerebral, whose roiling emotional content is always perceptible beneath its thorny surface. […]

    Foron’s authoritative way with this enormously challenging material, together with Mácal’s immaculate conducting of the great Czech Philharmonic, indicate that they have spent much time and effort getting to know and appreciate this astonishing music. You should too.’

    —Paul A. Snook, Fanfare Magazine

  4. :

    ‘I am amazed that Karel Reiner’s most interesting music has lain unplayed for so many years.

    [Reiner] was a master orchestrator, and this concerto shows his strengths. The music provides a thoroughgoing workout for the cellist, too. There are many pages in which the soloist has no rest, but that does not seem to be a problem for Sebastian Foron. He plays with strength, secure intonation, and tonal beauty. Conductor Zdeněk Mácal, familiar to many from his work as music director of the New Jersey Symphony from 1993 to 2002, gives a stellar performance, bringing out the various instruments in this complex piece and keeping the music translucent. […]

    This is an important recording because the concerto, in particular, should be much more widely heard. Toccata has recorded Reiner’s music in well-balanced, clear sound, and I think this disc is a true gem.’

    —Maria Nockin, Fanfare Magazine, September/October 2013

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