Not all German-speaking composers active in the later nineteenth and earlier twentieth centuries specialized in writing dark and depressing music. Witness Julius Röntgen, one of the most ebullient composers you're likely to encounter as demonstrated in this CPO disc with David Porcelijn leading the Deutsches Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz. Röntgen was a cheerful soul with facile compositional technique, a talent for orchestration, and a melodic gift. The works featured here are delightful and mostly on the lighter side (the exception being the Three Preludes and Fugues). The Symphony surfs on its energetic tempo, the Symphonietta cuts up with sunny humor, the Suite crystallizes high spirits, and the Preludes and Fugues reveal skillful counterpoint and a vein of more serious thought. Each performance is polished and committed, revealing Porcelijn to be an enthusiastic interpreter and the Rheinland orchestra to be thoroughly polished. If some listeners reject Röntgen's smiling music out of hand, it may be that they are too acclimated to Mahler, Strauss, Reger, and Schreker's scowling music to give Röntgen's a fair chance. CPO's digital sound is typically cool, clean, and colorful.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Preludes & Fugues (3), for orchestra|
|Oud-Nederland, suite for orchestra|