Camerata Freden

Erich Wolfgang Korngold: String Sextet; Piano Quintet

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Best remembered for his opera Die tote Stadt, the Violin Concerto, and the film scores to The Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Blood, and The Sea Hawk, Erich Wolfgang Korngold is somewhat less celebrated today for the chamber music he composed as a young man. However, with the steady increase in performances and recordings since the 1970s, even these once obscure works are becoming popular with audiences. As a youth, Korngold had been a wunderkind, impressing the likes of Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss, and the music he wrote in his European years had a strong post-Romantic flavor with rich textures, varied tone colors, and opulent harmonies. The Sextet in D major, Op. 10 (1914-1916) and the Piano Quintet in E major, Op. 15 (1921-1922) are vintage Korngold, and they are among the chamber works that have appeared with regularity on albums, often as a pair. The Camerata Freden offers these pieces with a warm ensemble blend that ingratiates the listener and a smooth tone that makes the music easy to like, even when it becomes a little adventurous and exotic. The sound is generally clear, notwithstanding the thickness of the textures in the Sextet, and the resonant acoustics lend the performances a luster that adds to their appeal.

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