Zemlinsky: A Ray of Light

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Composer: Alexander von Zemlinsky
Artists: Emanuele Torquati

A friend of Brahms and teacher of Schoenberg, Alexander Zemlinsky was a composer who straddled the divide of the 20th century, signalling the end of the Romantic period and the beginning of a marked upswing in experimentation. For the most part, however, the piano music on this disc is still firmly in the tradition of the great Romantic composers, composed as it was early on in his career. The Ländliche Tänze, or ‘Rustic Dances’, are a collection of light, pastoral dances, with nods to Schumann and Brahms. More melancholy and mournful are the Balladen (‘Ballades’) and Erinnerungen aus Wien (‘Memory of Vienna’), the latter referencing Wagner in its use of the ‘Tristan’ chord; these are works filled with the emotion and sensitivity one would expect from the tail end of this dramatic period, hinting at the developments that were to mark the following century. The lack of attention Zemlinsky’s oeuvre has received until now is sadly not surprising; a combination of the composer’s own attitude to his works – he was more interested in writing than selfpromotion – his life coinciding with dramatic historical events and his cultivation of a certain modesty of style (making him averse to dramatic emphasis and sensational effects in his music) meant that for a long time his output remained neglected. Emanuele Torquati is an acclaimed pianist, having performed at various prestigious concert venues across the globe. His recital at Columbia University in the USA garnered critical acclaim, with the New York Times praising him as a “thoughtful” and “insightful” musician, noting his sensitivity and skill at conveying to the listener how he thinks and feels about the music. This release complements his previous recordings for Brilliant, which include Brahms and Schumann: his interpretation of Zemlinsky’s works rounds off this period of Romanticism perfectly.

Tracklist

00:00:00 Ländliche Tänze Op. 1: No. 1, mit Wärme
00:01:03 Ländliche Tänze Op. 1: No. 2, Flüchtig
00:02:45 Ländliche Tänze Op. 1: No. 3, Träumerisch
00:04:37 Ländliche Tänze Op. 1: No. 4, Sehr schnell und leicht
00:06:00 Ländliche Tänze Op. 1: No. 5, Hinträumend
00:07:38 Ländliche Tänze Op. 1: No. 6, Energisch
00:08:36 Ländliche Tänze Op. 1: No. 7, Sehr zart
00:10:17 Ländliche Tänze Op. 1: No. 8, Heiter
00:11:06 Ländliche Tänze Op. 1: No. 9, Ländler-Tempo
00:12:19 Ländliche Tänze Op. 1: No. 10, Gut betont
00:13:20 Ländliche Tänze Op. 1: No. 11, Sehr sanft, No. 12 Sehr lebhaft

00:15:50 Ballade No. 1: Archibald Douglas
00:20:05 Ballade No. 2: Der König von Thule
00:22:11 Ballade No. 3: Der Wassermann
00:25:06 Ballade No. 4: Intermezzo

00:29:25 Albumblatt (Erinnerungen aus Wien)
00:32:00 Skizze

00:34:38 Fantasien über Gedichte von Richard Dehmel Op. 9: No. 1, Stimme des Abends
00:37:05 Fantasien über Gedichte von Richard Dehmel Op. 9: No. 2, Waldseligkeit
00:40:54 Fantasien über Gedichte von Richard Dehmel Op. 9: No. 3, Liebe
00:43:42 Fantasien über Gedichte von Richard Dehmel Op. 9: No. 4, Käferlied

00:45:28 Menuett aus Das Gläserne Herz
00:46:39 Ein Lichtstrahl

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