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Hugo REINHOLD (1854-1935)
Traumbilder for Piano, Op. 63 [10:25]
Three Pieces for Piano, Op. 52 [6:45]
Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 24 [34:50]
Aleksandra Milcarz (piano), Tomasz Bolsewicz (violin)
rec. Music Academy Wroclaw, December 2014
DUX RECORDS 1291 [57:51]

It’s good to see Dux supporting a project to record another romantic unknown from the decades bestriding the change of century. The Austrian composer Hugo Reinhold was born in Vienna. His composition tutor was none other than Anton Bruckner while his piano professor was Julius Epstein. He was honoured with the Beethoven Award for his Suite Op. 7 for piano and string orchestra. Lectures at the Vienna State Academy of Music and Fine Arts did not preclude a catalogue that includes a dozen-plus solo piano cycles, works for string orchestra, chamber music and various songs. In addition to the aforementioned Suite there are a Prelude, Minuet and Fugue for strings and a String Quartet in A, Op. 18. His music was taken up by the Vienna Philharmonic and the Hellmesberger Quartet.

Reinhold is no shaker of the temple pillars. He must have felt the leash of the past very strongly. Gripped by a fervid romantic sensibility, his music is without a trace of Schmidt's expressionism or Marx's impressionism. The five Traumbilder in part evince liquid Schubertian poise and angst only intermittently. A showy Allegretto pulls off the trick of being both genial and supernatural. The Larghetto is dignified and precedes a final Allegro con brio that has its almost rigid figurations separated from each other by hyper-romantic Chopin-like lunges. The Three Pieces take the form of a rhetorically determined Novellette and a flickering Phantasiestück. The lengthy (6:33) Etude, Am Springbrunnen, is moodily hyper-romantic. A very substantial four-movement construct, the Violin Sonata is a honeyed confection. This fluent score has a flighty Molto allegro which radiates contentment and tempestuous excitement. Its lengthy Andante con Variazioni takes an inherently serene theme and subjects it to some benign mood experiments. A short, chuckling and diverting Allegro giocoso sets the stage for the storm-clouds and resolute powerhouse that is the Allegro molto quasi Presto.

Milcarz and Bolsewicz seems completely au fait with the music's saturated romantic style while the Dux engineers give us a larger-than-life audio image which can easily be tamed if it all becomes too much.

Rob Barnett

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