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  • Dorothée Jourdain

Jaap Nico Hamburger's piano concerto reviewed by Records International!

Updated: May 26, 2021

The recording of Jaap Nico Hamburger's piano concerto released recently on Leaf Music was reviewed by Records International!

"This is a powerful, intense work, largely tonal and thoroughly approachable yet unusual in a number of respects."

"He is clearly very conscious of his Jewish heritage, and his first two symphonies, a recording of which we may apparently look forward later this year, treat themes of Holocaust survival and war."

"In the first movement, the composer’s main influences seem to be Feinberg and Mahler. The piece begins quietly and mournfully, but tension rises with a Mahlerian brass entry. Suddenly a terrifyingly mechanistic passage explodes out of nowhere and disappears just as quickly, with a return to the opening material and the piano's first, sombre solo entry. The second movement begins as an energetic, sarcastic scherzo, very indebted to Shostakovich and Prokofiev, and here the soloist is to the fore from the start. About a third of the way through, sirens attempt to drown out the music which gamely continues, followed by an explosive climax. What follows is a sustained lament, punctuated by shattered shards of sound from the piano and a cello. The side drum ushers in a cadenza, which could have wandered in from one of Feinberg's early sonatas. The orchestra joins in, and quickly the scherzando character of the movement is restored. The ending is snatched off in mid phrase. The last movement, Molto Adagio, is tragic and pained, spare of texture, haunted by a ghostly child's song in violin harmonics, even the piano torn between gentle reflection and sudden spasms of violence; here again one thinks of Shostakovich, or perhaps even more, of Weinberg. The concerto fades out in haunting, fragile, unresolved resignation."

Click here to read the full review.

Click here to learn more about Jaap Nico Hamburger

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