REINHARD OPPEL (1878-1941): Piano Music, Vol. 1 - Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, 5 Stücke, Op. 21, Kleine Suite, Op. 26, Waltzes, Set II.
Catalogue Number: 09N043
Label: Toccata Classics
Reference: TOCC 0003
Description: The most famous composer Oppel studied under was Arnold Mendelssohn; he did not write a lot of music, being occupied by teaching and musical theory, and his music was literally buried under his family's garden shed in a town near Halle in East Germany when his widow and children fled to the west in 1951-52, where it stayed until his son rescued it in 1990. So these recordings are the first time his music has been heard since before World War II. The traycard blurb talks of "heart-warming, Dvorákian" music. I didn't hear anything like this. Only the sonata is a post-World War I work (Oppel was wounded three times during the war) and it sounds like a numbed, pale reflection of late Romanticism seen through the cracked glass of defeat, depression and economic chaos. The other works date from 1913 and seem engaged in the struggle between Romanticism and Modernism which occurred in much of western Europe at the time - late Romantic forms and a brittle, somewhat uncomfortable reaction to Romantic rhetoric. Could a tray-card blurb be wrong? Maybe it's just me... Heejung Kang (piano).