Künneke: Piano Concerto - Serenade - Zigeunerweis
Theis, Ernst; Triendl, Oliver; Münchner Rundfunkorchester
The highly talented Eduard Kunneke is known above all as a German operetta composer. The operetta Der Vetter aus Dingsda (1921) became his most famous work. Since he had not exactly experienced positive things in the United States, he evidently was not so eager to go into exile. As a result, during the Nazi era he became known as the "Master of the German Operetta," even though he hardly made concessions to the regime and repeatedly ran into trouble because he refused to separate from his "half-Jewish" wife Katarina. Along with his operettas, Kunneke regularly composed »serious works« for the concert hall that were almost completely neglected – wrongly so. For example, his Piano Concerto is a work very much displaying higher aspirations and qualifying as top-quality musical entertainment. His concerto is certainly the most original and spirited example of a genre of works engaging in dialogue with classicism and swing in the 1920s and including contributions by Gershwin and Ravel. The "game of musical catch" played by the orchestra and piano at the beginning of the first movement is simply astonishing. In the Gypsy Melodies and Serenade for Orchestra, pieces with which Kunneke demonstrated his early mastery around 1907, he styled himself as a very creative heir to Brahms and the late romanticist Max Reger, who had taught him the craft of composition.