WORKS: Fünf Klavierstücke, Op. 47; Six Studies, Op. 51; Violin Sonata in E minor, Op. 27
PERFORMER: Ulf Wallin (violin), Roland Pöntinen (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 999 704-2
That Hans Pfitzner was far more than just the composer of Palestrina has been triumphantly demonstrated by CPO in its exploration of the composer’s orchestral works a few years back, and more recently by the five-volume series of songs. Now the label turns to the works for solo piano and the Violin Sonata, both fascinating discoveries.
Pfitzner’s entire piano oeuvre (discounting three undated short pieces) consists of two sets: the Five Piano Pieces of 1941 and the Six Studies of the following year. Curious that it’s so little, so late, for Pfitzner was an accomplished pianist and an inveterate admirer of Schumann. Less surprising is the fact that his own pieces owe so much to Schumann’s example – not least the final Melodie of the Op. 47
set, which is an unashamed homage to Schumann’s Romance in F sharp, Op. 28/2.
Even more welcome is the opportunity to make the acquaintance of Pfitzner’s only
Violin Sonata. Dating from the time of Palestrina – it was actually begun immediately after the premiere of the opera in 1917 – the Sonata is an exhilarating outpouring of inspiration in late-Romantic style. Ulf Wallin and Roland Pöntinen are exemplary advocates, and violinists looking for an attractive addition to their repertoire should seek out this disc urgently. I look forward to further neglected treasures of Pfitzner’s chamber output from CPO, preferably with better translated booklet notes. Barry Millington