HEINZ TIESSEN (1887-1971): Eine Natur-Trilogie, Op. 18, 2 Phantasie-Stücke, Op. 26, 6 Klavierstücke, Op. 37, 5 Klavierstücke, Op. 52, 3 Tanzcapricen, Op. 61, Entartetes Weihnachtslied.
Catalogue Number: 11R056
Label: Toccata Classics
Reference: TOCC 0291
Description: One could easily categorize Tiessen’s stylistic traits as the CD’s traycard does: “neo-Baroque counterpoint, Straussian textural opulence, Schoenbergian expressionism and Hindemithian clarity”. But it is never as dry as that sounds and the earliest piece here, the Natur-Trilogie of 1913, transcends its constituent parts. It’s a three-movement tone-poem of almost half an hour which depicts the atmosphere and scenery of the Baltic coast where today’s Lithuania meets Kaliningrad (East Prussia when Tiessen grew up there). This is dark, often doom-laden expressionism of the best kind, the first movement, “At the Top of ‘The Dead Dune’” sounding like the sort of place you’d want to avoid on All Saint’s Eve and the final “Night at Sea” a tempestuous storm portrait that could stand with any of its type. And how can you not like the morbid wit of the title of the 1937 “Degenerate Christmas Song” from a composer whose works were banned from performance by the Nazis?