Friedrich Gernsheim Piano Music Volume 2 delivers

Jens Barnieck continues his survey of Friedrich Gernsheim’s piano music. This volume includes Gernsheim’s first piano sonata and several smaller works — all receive their world recording premieres with this release.

Barnieck’s performances are just as satisfying as they were with volume one of this series.

Gernsheim began composing around the time of Mendelssohn and continued through the era of Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler. Barnieck adjusts his playing accordingly.

The Piano Sonata No. 1 was composed in 1853 when Gernsheim was fourteen. Barnieck plays the work with a light touch, showing the influence of Mendelssohn on the young composer. The 1872 Fantasie, Op. 27 receives a different treatment.

Gernsheim wrote the work for Hans von Bülow. This is bigger, brawnier music. Von Bülow was a champion of Brahms, and Gernsheim seems to move in that direction. Barneick’s powerful expressiveness reinforces the similarities.

Gernsheim composed for the piano throughout his career. The shorter works on this release attest to his abilities, which are considerable. While he was influenced by the major composers of German classical music, he didn’t simply imitate them.

There’s plenty of original material here to satisfy the listener. Well, at least this listener. I’m looking forward to auditioning volume three.

Friedrich Gernsheim: Piano Music, Volume Two
Piano Sonata No. 1 in D minor; Vier Klavierstucke Capriccio in E minor; Gerschwind-Marsch; Romanze, Op. 15; Fantasie, Op. 27
Jens Barnieck, piano
Toccata Classics TOC 0594

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