New CD

A new CD has been issued by Romantic Discoveries Recordings.

The Circle of Brahms, vol. 2
John Kersey, piano

Ignaz Brüll (1846-1907)
1. Theme with Variations, op. 35 no 1 2. Mazurka, op. 35 no 2

Ernst Rudorff (1840-1916)
3. Fantasie, op. 14 – first movement

4. Ballade, op. 84 5. Theme with Variations, op. 39  Drei Klavierstücke, op. 101:
6. Menuett 7. Gavotte 8. Novelette

Karl Georg Peter Grädener (1812-83)
Fliegende Blätter, op. 5: 9. no. 1: Presto assai10. no. 4: Allegretto poco vivace

11. Impromptu, op. 37 no. 1 12. Idylle, op. 37 no. 2. Zwei Klavierstücke, op. 94:
13. Gondoliera14. Marche a la japonaise

This disc is our third exploring those composers who were part of Brahms’s circle, and concentrates on Ignaz Brüll, the traditionalist friend of Brahms.

Ignaz Brüll, son of a prosperous Moravian Jewish family, moved to Vienna in infancy and was to study there under Anton Rufinatscha and Julius Dessoff (composition) and Julius Epstein (piano). A rapid developer, he had completed his first piano concerto by the age of fourteen and, having received the support of Anton Rubinstein, began a successful career as a concert pianist, with many tours throughout Europe. He continued composing, and his second opera “Das goldene Kreuz” was well-received.

Brüll’s villa by Lake Attersee became known as the Berghof, and became a meeting-place for the leading musicians of the day, including Mahler, Goldmark, Fuchs, Hanslick and Billroth. His friend Brahms was a frequent visitor and clearly enjoyed his time there. Stories of Brüll tell not only that he was held in high regard as a musician but also that he was a companionable and popular family man. Following his marriage in 1882, he devoted himself increasingly to composition.

Brüll is a traditionalist in composition, and there is nothing in his music that suggests that he was at all impressed by musical developments during his lifetime. Rather, he concentrates on a language midway between that of Mendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms, but with a number of individual touches. His Ballade, op. 84, looks forward to Grieg, while some of the shorter works suggest the style of Raff.

Ernst Rudorff studied piano under Woldemar Bargiel (see previous RDR releases) and then entered the Leipzig Conservatoire under Moscheles, Plaidy and Rietz. He undertook further study with Hauptmann and Reinecke. Appointment as professor of piano at the Cologne Conservatoire in 1865 was followed by the senior piano position at the Berlin Hochschule between 1869 and his retirement in 1910. A prolific composer, arranger and editor, Rudorff was a friend of both Brahms and Joachim.

Carl Grädener was born in Rostock and spent ten years as a cellist in Helsinki. He was then director of music at the Kiel Conservatoire for ten years, later teaching at the Vienna and Hamburg Conservatoires. His compositions include operas, symphonies and other large-scale works, as well as miniatures for piano and songs. His son Hermann also became a composer.