The Strad Issue: January 2011
Description: A worthy disc exposing a rarely heard strand of late Romanticism
Musicians: Liza Ferschtman (violin) Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/David Porcelijn
Composer: Röntgen

The posthumous reputation of German-trained Dutch polymath Julius Röntgen (1855–1932) is still relatively minor. As with many composers of his generation, it is probable that he suffered because of his more ‘traditional’ bearing and, as Jurjen Vis’s lengthy if at times muddled booklet note shows, he was often berated for lack of originality.

Nonetheless, the music on this disc displays a strong musical personality, reflecting not only the classical German school, but also a whole host of other influences. Arguably, the 1902 A minor Concerto is a better-unified work than the 1931 F sharp minor work, which is nonetheless beautifully orchestrated. Both display Röntgen’s warm-hearted late Romanticism and contain memorable and lively finales, and in this regard Liza Ferschtman, winner of the 2006 Dutch Music Award, imbues the music with suitably fiery and committed playing. The Ballad of 1918 is an odd if initially highly evocative mixture of influences. Its melodic sections reveal Ferschtman’s sensuous tone, with a wonderful depth on the G string and great E-string intensity, counterpoising her fluent virtuosity. Well recorded by CPO and displaying some very tidy orchestral accompaniment, this is a disc of sumptuous music that deserves wider exposure.

David Milsom