Weber – Andante e Rondo ungarese, J.79, op.35Brahms – Viola Sonata in E-flat major, op.120 no.2
Berlioz-Liszt – Harold en Italie, S 472
Weber’s Andante e Rondo ungarese seems nowadays more often to be performed in its later bassoon version, but was originally written for viola and orchestra. I am afraid I had the same problem I have with most of Weber’s music written before the great trilogy of three ‘late’ operas: bewilderment that such trivial, anonymous music could have been written by the same man who composed Der Freischütz. In this case, the problem was compounded by use of what I assume must have been a piano reduction of the orchestral score; at any rate, no credit was given, either to Weber or to someone else. It put me in mind of accompanying for Associated Board exams – somehow, as a teenage schoolboy, I used to think that £10 was an acceptable rate, rehearsals included, but it certainly taught me to listen to other musicians – and especially so in some thumping chords it is difficult to imagine anyone who actually played the piano having written as such. There was, however, some gorgeous lyrical tone to savour from Gérard Caussé. It was amiable enough, I suppose, but an odd choice and, in whatever guise, ultimately banal, form seemingly little more than a matter of adding section to section. Did this really hail from the composer of Euryanthe? It sounded closer to Donizetti.