Today I’d like to talk about a couple of recordings that I find very interesting.
The first is a CD called “Intempesta”, and is a recital of salon pieces by Georg Goltermann – specifically his ‘Nocturnes’ for Cello and Piano. There are no less than fourteen pieces which cover most of the composer’s adult life. It is produced as a CD, and is also available on ‘Spotify’.
These are very admirably performed by Spanish musicians Miguel Angel Vilariño Martínez (cello – and he is on Facebook, so well worth following his news!) and the pianist Blanca Quevado Sanz. I frind that quite a few cellists do not feel totally comfortable with these types of ‘salon pieces’. Often virtuosic elements or physical strength is not the most important element. However, a certain difficulty arises by knowing how to play these pieces ‘sensitively’, ‘creatively’ and with a light rubato (but not overdoing it!). Miguel Angel really knows how shape these melodic lines, within a truly chamber music combination; the intensity is equally as impressive when growing as when relaxing. Many of the pieces are in ternary form (A-B-A), which almost inevitably gives possibilities for contrast in the middle part, and they do it convincingly.
My favourites? All are nice, but I am specially fond of:
** Nocturne in G Major, Op.54
** Nocturne in D Major, Op.16
And a few notes on the composer himself:
Born: 1824, 19th August (Hannover)
Died: 1898, 29th December (Frankfurt am Main)
Goltermann’s father was an organist, and therefore he got an early introduction to music. He received cello lessons from A. Ch.Prell, and from Joseph Menter during Goltermann’s two-year stay in Munich (1847-1949) and was noted there for his compositional talents. He also had composition instruction from Lachnar, who himself had written a medium-scale work for a quartet of cellos.
During the 1850’s he was touring Europe as a solo cellist, often performing his own works. There were plentiful journeys, but alas little has been recorded of them. In 1857 he became music director in Würzburg. However, he only remained there for one year because in 1858 he accepted an offer to become deputy music director of the municipal theater Stadttheater in Frankfurt-am-Main, where he was promoted to Kapellmeister (Main Director) in 1874.
Georg Goltermann died in 1898.
Goltermann was an intelligent musician, even if we have few anecdotes to go by. For example, Grieg highly recommended Goltermann’s arrangement of his Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, which he considered very high quality transcription making. Unfortunately some of the finest transcriptions were only published at the end of his life, and have not thus entered the general cellists’ repertoire. After his death, at the very end of the 19th century, it would be fair to say that although ‘salon music’ would still command a respectable place among musicians, its hey-day was passing – leaving both the original pieces and the fine transcriptions of Goltermann out ‘in the cold’. I would suggest that it is time for a revival, or at least a reappraisal, of his work and achievements.
Principal Compositions of GOLTERMANN by Opus Number (the ones that I have so far been able to find!):
Op.1 – Fantaisie sur un thème favori (1838)
Op.14 – Concerto No.1 in A minor, for cello and piano
Op.15 – Grand Duo for Cello (or Viola) and Piano, Op.15
Op.17 – Romance in E minor, for Cello and Chamber Orchestra (dur. 8 mins)
Op.22 – Romance in C major, for Cello and Chamber Orchestra (dur. 5 mins)
Op.24 – Capriccio for Cello and Piano (N.B. falsely named as the work Op.35 No.4 by Hegner)
Op.30 – Concerto No.2 in D minor, for cello and Piano
Op.35 – 4 Morceau de Salon // No.1 – Romance in D major / No.2 – Alla Mazurka in A minor / No.3 – Caprice in G major / No.4 – Adagio and Tarantelle in D minor
Op.36 – 1st Sonatine in A major, for viola or cello and piano
Op.43 – 4 Morceaux caracterist // No.1 – Reverie in E minor / No.2 – Inquietude in G major / No.3 – Nocturne in D minor for cello and piano / No.4 – Humoreske in D major
Op.48 – 4 Morceaux Caractéristiques for cello and piano
Op.49 – Nocturne for cello and piano
Op.49 – Suite for cello and piano (4 solo pieces) // No.1 – Nocturne in G major / No.2 – Serenade in E major / No.3 – Noveletta in G major / No.4 – Capriccio in D minor
Op.51 – Concerto No.3 in B minor
Op.52 – 3 Romances sans paroles // No.1 – G major / No.2 – A major / No.3 – G minor
Op.53 – Morceaux de Salon (Salon Piece) for Four Cellos
Op.54 – 4 Morceaux caracterist // No.1 – Nocturne in G major for cello and piano (alternative version: Nocturne, Op. 54, No. 1 for flute and piano) / No.2 – Desir in E minor / No.3 – Reverie in A minor / No.4 – Etude-Caprice in C major for cello and piano
Op.56 – Andante religioso in G major
Op.59 Notturno and Saltarello // No.1 – Nocturne in B minor for cello and piano / No.2 – Saltarello in B minor
Op.60 Two Pieces // No.1 – Romance in A minor / No.2 – Tarantelle in A minor
Op.61 – 2nd Sonatine in G major, for viola and piano
Op.65 – Concerto No.4 in G major, for cello and piano
Op.65 – Consecration Hymn for 4 cellos
Op.66 – Fantaisie to Oberon from Weber
Op.67 – Concerto No.5 in D minor, for cello and Piano (occasionally given with the number Op. 76)
Op.81 – Ballade in G major
Op.88 – Elegie in C minor
Op.90 – 3 Romances Sans Paroles for cello and Piano
Op.92 – 3 Morceaux de Salon (with piano) // No.1 – Nocturne in E minor for cello and piano / No.2 – Reverie in G minor / No.3 – Romances in F major
Op.95 3 Romances symboliques // No.1 – La Foi No.1 for cello and piano / No.2 – La Charite in A major / No.3 – L’Esperance in F major
Op.97 – 6 Tonbilder (Tone Poems) // No.1 – Ballade in D minor / No.2 – Scherzetto in G minor / No.3 – Trauermarsch in E minor / No.4 – Stiller Glück in F major / No.5 – Sehnsucht in G major / No.6 – Auf der Jagd. in D major
Op.98 – Fantaisie on melodies of Mendelssohn
Op.103 – Concerto No.7 in C major
Op.108 – Notturno in F major
Op.115 – 3 Morceaux faciles // No.1 – Serenade in G major / No.2 – Idylle in A major
No.3 – Nocturne in A major
Op.119 Two Pieces for Four Cellos // No.1 – Romance for 4 cellos / No.2 – Serenade for 4 cellos
Op.120 Pieces choisies (Transcriptions)
No.1 – Am Meer (Schubert) / No.2 – Kirchen-Aria (Stradella) / No.3 – Litaney (Schubert) / No.4 – Das Fischermädchen (Schubert) / No.5 – Larghetto (from Clarinet Quintet from Mozart) / No.6 – Sei mir gerüsst (Schubert) / No.7 – Elegie (Ernst)
Op.121 – Opera Transcriptions
No.1 – Idomenee (Mozart) / No.2 – Idomenee (Mozart) / No.3 – Zaide (Mozart) / No.4 – Cosi fan tutti (Mozart) / No.5 – Iphigenie en Tauride (Gluck) / No.6 – Medee (Cherubini)
Op.125 – 3 Nocturnes // No.1 – G major / No.2 – E flat major / No.3 – F major
Op.128 – 4 Pieces with piano // No.1 – Ballade in B flat major /No.2 – Intermezzo in D major / No.3 – Notturno in C major