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10 April 2008: Vabast fantaasiast ('Of free fantacy'), concert by Wolfgang Brunner, Austria, fortepiano, at Mederi Hall, Tallinn

This concert was held in the fine Meder Hall, a suitable tribute to the composer Meder who is not as well known as he should be. It is situated close to the medieval walls and the soaring Sauna and Nunne Towers. The hall has a colonnade along one side but nevertheless has good acoustics, even, as it was on this occasion, with a capacity audience. The fortepiano that Wolfgang Brunner played was made by Chris Maene of Brussels. The concert was transmitted live by Estonian Radio.

Wall near Meder Hall. Photo © 2008 Peter Howell
Wall near Meder Hall. Photo © 2008 Peter Howell

The pieces in the concert covered almost the complete period of the fortepiano, starting with a fantasia and a rondo by C P E Bach. I was a little taken aback with Brunner's interpretation, but I was reassured by the fact that he won the international C P E Bach competition in 1988 in Hamburg, and therefore have to agree with him. Nevertheless, the music of C P E Bach has a very special character that has to be thought about. This was followed by a fantasia and sonata by Mozart. These two pieces set the scene for a carefully structured demonstration of the history of style for fortepiano playing. There followed a sonata and allegretto by Schubert and a sonata by Haydn. While the order of playing the pieces put the Haydn after the Schubert, whereas they should have been reversed chronologically, they did demonstrate a perfect contrast in style. Throughout the concert Brunner's control of style and technique were immaculate. The two Schubert pieces were particularly suited to him and his instrument; at the end of the allegretto there was a long silence as both player and audience were visibly moved by this piece written at the end the composer's short life.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Concertos for 3 und 2 pianos; Sonata for 2 Pianos; Konzerte für 3 und 2 Klaviere; Sonate für 2 Klaviere. Salzburger Hofmusik on period instruments - Wolfgang Brunner, Florian Birsak, Leonore von Strauss

Talking to Wolfgang after the concert I was impressed by his breadth of knowledge and his approach. We discussed his work with his group the Salzburger Hofmusik. He referred me to his recent CD 'Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Concertos for 3 und 2 Pianos, Sonata for 2 Pianos'. Here it is interesting that the piece for three pianos, the 'Lodron' Concerto, is in its original form as set out for the Countess Antonia Lodron and her daughters Aloisia and Giuseppa to play. Well worth a listen.

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Copyright © 1 May 2008 Peter G Howell, Shropshire UK


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