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Beiträge von Frank Beck
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Rezensionen verfasst von
Frank Beck (New York, NY USA)

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Tonio Kröger
Tonio Kröger
von Thomas Mann
  Audio CD
Preis: EUR 23,99

5.0 von 5 Sternen A treat for English-speakers, too, 25. April 2013
Verifizierter Kauf(Was ist das?)
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Tonio Kröger (Audio CD)
If you speak English, who better to teach you German than one of the greatest writers in the language?

I am studying Germany and still have a long way to go, but I've greatly enjoyed listening to this recording with a copy of Mann's 'Tonio Kroger' in one hand and the English translation by David Luke in the other. The recording was made in 1955, and the sound quality is good for the period.

As with any work of literature, there's much to be learned by hearing this story read by the author. Mann's reading style - a little detached but attentive to the many nuances of the story - is well suited to this tale of a man who keeps life at arm's length until the events of a single evening make him realize what he's been missing.

This is a recording I will treasure, and I thank the NDR Kultur for making it available.

Schumann: Lieder - Violin Sonata No. 2 - Kinderszenen, Part I: Lieder / Piano Works
Schumann: Lieder - Violin Sonata No. 2 - Kinderszenen, Part I: Lieder / Piano Works

5.0 von 5 Sternen A delightful new perspective on Schumann, 14. Dezember 2010
I bought this recording out of curiosity, wanting to see how these works by Robert Schumann would sound on the cello, and, from the first selection, I was hooked. `Widmung' (`Dedication'), is part of a group of songs written by the composer as a wedding present for his wife, Clara Wieck, and it has a melody you only need to hear once to remember. Cellist Francesco Dillon and pianist Emanuele Torquati bring out all the ardor of that main tune; then they respond tenderly as the key changes and the music broadens for the second, hymn-like theme. Their approach, here and throughout this two-disc collection is just right: alive to the mercurial qualities of the music, fervent at times, but never sentimental.

All the transcriptions are the work of cellist Friedrich Grutzmacher (1832-1903). They include songs such as `Du bist wie eine Blume' (`You are like a flower'), `Nussbaum' (`The Nut Tree') and `Fruhlingsnacht' (`Spring Night'); numerous works originally written for piano; and the Violin Sonata No. 2, Op. 121. Grutzmacher knew when to be discrete, adhering to the originals as much as possible, but he also made wise adjustments in some of these pieces to make them work better in their new context. For example, he added a transition to `Fruhlingsnacht' that allows the brief song to be played through twice, and no one who doesn't know the original would guess that anything had been altered.

Schumann's second violin sonata seldom declaims; it mostly confides. That makes the work sound very much at home on the cello, and, from the opening chords, Dillon and Torquati's performance is totally involving. (The lovely tune first heard at 2:34 in the opening movement shows how much Gabriel Faure owed to Schumann!) The cello and piano parts throughout are tightly interwoven, and the two instrumentalists complement one another beautifully. They play the first measures of the third movement with great delicacy and the bittersweet melody that follows has a beguiling charm.

The recording concludes with an inventive transformation of Schumann's most famous piano work, `Kinderszenen' (`Childhood Scenes'), into a cello and piano duet. `Taumerei' (`Dreaming') is especially effectively in its new setting, but each of the pieces displays new aspects in Grutzmacher's version. In general, they sound 'bigger,' with the cello adding a third voice to the two played by the pianist. And here, again, the playing is warmly sympathetic.

What would Schumann say about Grutzmacher's transcriptions? In order to let his friend, the renowned violinist Joseph Joachim, perform his Cello Concerto, the composer himself transcribed the work for violin. So, in my opinion, even purists need not hesitate about this collection. If you know anyone who loves Schumann or the cello, this would make a welcome gift at Christmas--or at any time.

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