Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us


„ Vienna around 1900 “

Elena Denisova (violin) Alexej Kornienko (piano)
Gramola 98776


Robert Fuchs “Seven Intermezzos” Op. 82 (c.1905)

Alexander von Zemlinsky “Serenade” in A major (1896)
Pavel Singer “Notturno” (2005)

“Vienna around 1900... " - a potent theme to try to capture their the then centre of the musical world. Here is a duo recital which deserves the attention of all violinist students who are building their recital repertoires, and will not know any of this music. It is an imaginative sequence of high romanticism and a backward look by an active composer from now to a century back and the time of Berg.

Fuchs taught Mahler, Korngold, Wolf, Strauss, Sibelius, Schreker, Schmidt and Zemlinsky, and was praised by Brahms, and these substantial intermezzi make for pleasant listening, not necessarily all seven straight off.

Alexander von Zemlinsky (1871- 1942) numbered Schönberg, Alma Mahler and Korngold amongst his pupils! His attractive posthumous “Serenade” is a favourite of Elena Denisova and Alexei Kornienko, who studied and met in Moscow, and now live in Vienna. It quotes from Schumann and Brahms, but is an independent work, and a winning one. The “Intermezzos” by Fuchs and Zemlinsky's “Serenade” were composed at around the turn of the century, but were composed during different phases of the composers' lives.

Pavel Singer (b. 1962) wrote “Notturno” for Elena Denisova and Alexei Kornienko, and for this CD; he studied beforehand the Fuchs and Zemlinsky scores, and incorporated the beginning of Berg's Sonata Op.1 at the climax of his evocation of those heady times in a successful piece which is "twelve tone but not dodecaphonic" - I am not too sure what he means, but I like the piece and it is perfect foil to its more traditionally romantic companions. Together they make a fine CD programme and, if the violinist was offered a rest, inclusion of the Berg piano sonata would make for a perfect recital.

Elena Denisova and Alexej Kornienko came to my notice at an innovative festival in Flanders and again at their own “Wörthersee Classics Festival” in Carinthia, devoted to the five great composers who lived and worked around the lake. She is a violinist fine as any before the public, and their duo partnership, which I have enjoyed live in Antwerp and in Klagenfurt, is deservedly renowned.

I have urged that they be invited to UK, but the English Channel remains a formidable barrier for European musicians, despite the Tunnel under it from France, and nothing has come of it yet!

This is a well conceived and achieved recording and by following those links above you will find details and my recommendations of their other CDs.


© Peter Grahame Woolf