Robert Furstenthal Chamber Music Volume 3 maintains quality

This latest installment of Furstenthal’s music features four instrumental sonatas and a string quartet. Like the preceding volumes, the music here is of very fine quality, and timeless.

Furstenthal’s promising musical career was derailed when Austria was invaded in 1838. The young composer fled to the United States — and never wrote another note.

Not until 1973, that is, when Furstenthal reconnected with his first love. Thanks to her encouragement, he began writing again and continued composing for the rest of his life (Furstenthal died in 2016, aged 96.)

Furstenthal said that “when I compose, I am back in Vienna.” That sense of nostalgia is strong in many of his works. Furstenthal’s style is that of the late-Romantic. Some of these sonatas reminded me of Robert Fuch’s music.

Furstenthal’s instrumental sonatas have a deceptively simple charm about them. The technical challenges for the instrumentalists seem modest. But the works demand a high degree of musicianship to fully realize their expressiveness.

The members of the Rossetti Ensemble deliver, as they have on the previous volumes. The performances sound both sympathetic and invested.

Furstenthal was a composer with something to say. Though it was long delayed, I’m glad Toccata Classics gave him the opportunity to be heard.

Robert Furstenthal: Chamber Music, Volume Three
Rossetti Ensemble
Toccata Classics, TOCC 0577

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