Norbert Burgmüller may have died at the tender age of 26, but during his short life he authored a significant number of works that have earned him a place among the foremost composers of the early 1800s. Among his admirers were Schumann and Mendelssohn, the former commenting on how, ‘following Franz Schubert’s death premature death, nothing could be more painful than Burgmüller’s’.
Indeed, Burgmüller compares most clearly to Schubert in the lieder repertory, with each composer opting for similar subject matter and poetic diom. Generally more contained and abstract in atmosphere than those of his contemporary’s, the former’s songs reveal styles that are typical of Schubert’s compositions (especially Opp. 3, 6 and 10) but which anticipate the Austrian’s later lieder through their daring modulations and close alliance between words and music. Culminating in the Frühlingslied – a gem of a piece with a serene, spring-like atmosphere – these songs give way to the final work on the disc, the Piano Sonata in F minor Op.8, whose first movement touches on Spohr’s style and whose Finale is a model of virtuoso élan.
Burgmüller may not exactly be a household name, but it is easy to see from this charming release why he is a composer who deserves more recognition. Eleonora Contucci and Costantino Mastroprimiano (a seasoned Brilliant Classics artist) perform with aplomb, the latter in full command of the wonderful Graf fortepiano – one of only 60 surviving instruments by this foremost Viennese craftsman of the 19th century.
- Recorded in the beautiful acoustics of the Villa Contucci in Montepulciano (2011 - 2012), by Eleonora Contucci, soprano, and veteran fortepianist Costantino Mastroprimiano, playing a superb Graf piano from 1826, since its build, in the possession of the Contucci family.
- Norbert Burgmüller’s early death in 1836 at the age of 26 was greatly lamented by his famous contemporaries Mendelssohn and Schumann, the latter comparing the tragedy of his death with that of Schubert. He was considered a major talent, and he left a substantial oeuvre of orchestral, vocal and instrumental works.
- This CD features his songs, and the grand scale Piano Sonata in F minor Op. 8 in the style of Weber and Hummel. His songs remind us of Schubert in their freshness and naturalness, though not without personal touches in some of the more daring modulations.
- Contains comprehensive booklet notes, sung texts, artist biographies and information on the Graf fortepiano (1826) used in the recording.