Julius Röntgen: Piano Music Vol. 1
Julius Röntgen (1855-1932) was both a composer and a gifted pianist and as such he knew how to write well for his instrument.
Röntgen was a child prodigy and from an early age composed ambitious works for the piano. He frequently performed his own, and others, piano concertos. Beethoven's Fourth and Brahms's Second were particular favourites. It was through performances of Beethoven's Piano Sonata op.111 and Schumann's Etudes Symphoniques that Röntgen established himself. However, it was not as a soloist but as an accompanist that Röntgen would make a lasting impression. The partnership with his contemporary, the baritone Johannes Messchaert, was legendary and they made several European tours. At one of their recitals, in the Vienna Musikvereinsaal, it was noted that Brahms and Grieg were sat together in the front row.
Röntgen composed constantly throughout his performing and teaching career. Opus numbers were only applied to printed works, itself a fraction of his more than 600 compositions. Recent renewed interest in Röntgen has revealed many treasures still waiting to be awakened in the Röntgen Archives (Den Haag). Alongside a huge series of unknown string quartets, string trios, piano trios and symphonies there are some thirty piano sonatas and sonatinas from 1922-1932 alone. Röntgen started and ended his creative life as a piano composer.
"The more I hear of Julius Röntgen’s music, the more I like it... Mark Anderson is a pianist new to me but his playing here is a revelation, both in its own regard and as a vehicle for Röntgen’s music. His tone and touch are wonderfully varies and he seems equally at home in the earlier works, with their dependence on Classical and early Romantic models, as he is in th more overtly Romantic later works. Nimbus’ sound is exemplary. Highly recommended." **** International Piano, May/June 2015
"Anderson plays beautifully, though—what tone, what technique, what a touch!" American Record Guide
“Röntgen’s delightful music continues to be recorded… They are most delightfully played by Mark Anderson in the sympathetic acoustic of Wyastone Leys. I’m looking forward to this series developing but then I am very partial to Röntgen’s unassuming generosity of spirit.” Jonathan Woolf, musicweb-international.com
“Julius Röntgen is one of those composers who never wrote a masterpiece, but who made a lot of very enjoyable music across many genres. Mark Anderson’s pianism is very impressive through this album, and he does a great job “selling” Röntgen to the listener. Being an ambassador for unknown piano music can be an unrewarding task, because in territory like this, it’s harder to judge the quality of artistry on display but Anderson does such a fine job that both he and Röntgen come out of this album looking like major talents. Julius Röntgen is always entertaining and enjoyable. Not every new album you hear can change your life and as far as non-life-changing music goes this is pretty great.” Brian Reinhart, musicweb-international.com