CD review: Rather Romantic — Beautiful Memories told by the Euphonium

Duo Giovivo
Featuring: Fabian Bloch and Muriel Zeiter
Genuin Recordings: GEN 22791

Although they wrote some of the most beautiful music in the world, the unpredictable course of romance ran like a rickety old roller-coaster ride for many of the great composers.

Complex and difficult men led complex and difficult love lives: Haydn married a woman who he remarked “didn’t care a fig if her husband was an artist or a cobbler”,  whilst Mozart, Berlioz, Franck, Bizet, Tchaikovsky, Strauss and Puccini amongst others, more than found their match in temperament and tempestuousness in their better halves.  

And whilst Robert and Clara Schumann kept a diary with secret symbols to indicate each time they made love, Alma Mahler kept one about her husband that would have kept libel lawyers busy longer than an entire performance run of his symphonies twice over. 


Much then to ponder as you listen to this engaging billet-doux recoding from the musical coupling of euphonium star Fabian Bloch and his partner and accompanist Muriel Zeiter – although you suspect their romanticism has a healthy basis of admiration and respect.

And whilst Robert and Clara Schumann kept a diary with secret symbols to indicate each time they made love, Alma Mahler kept one about her husband that would have kept libel lawyers busy longer than an entire performance run of his symphonies twice over. 

‘Rather Romantic’ follows their 2022 release ‘Serendipity’, with 17 neatly arranged works from Bach (who had 13 children with his wife Anna Magdalena) and Beethoven (‘who attempted conquests that Adonis would have found difficult’ according to a contemporary) to Faure (who ‘enjoyed’ his numerous affairs) and Tchaikovsky (whose mysterious demise may have been linked to his own love life).  

Some leave a more lasting romantic impression than others: Schumann’s tenderness sits in contrast to the playfulness of Satie and the nocturnal earthiness of Kalliwoda. Beethoven is simply serious, Bach scholastically perfect. 


Faure’s ‘Berceuse’  is seemingly written with one eye on another conquest, his ‘Sicilienne’,  occupying the other.  Elsewhere, Kreisler enjoys a furtive night out with his ‘Liebesleid’, although Dvorak (who was more interested in trainspotting than his wife and five children at times) lays out his admirations in ‘Lasst mich allein’ like a lovelorn teenager.  

All this and the spectrum of emotions is completed with the sense of tragic emptiness found floating in Tchaikovsky’s ‘Valse sentimentale’  and the untouchable piety of Donizetti’s ‘Ave Maria’.

It's all performed by Bloch with his rich timbre, and Zeiter with her delicate counterbalance refinement, with an osmotic understanding of its passions – aided greatly by keeping the saccharin levels to a minimum.  

Iwan Fox

To purchase: https://giovivo.ch/en/produkt-kategorie/cd-en/

Play list:

1. Meditation from Thais (Massenet)
2. Ich liebe dich (Beethoven)
3. Je te veux (Satie)

4. Nocturne II-IV Op. 186 (Kalliwoda)

7. Adagio cantabile Op.25 (Beethoven)
8. Widmung Op.25 (Schumann)
9. Schafe konnen sicher weiden BWV 208
10. Berceuse Op. 16 (Faure)

11. Liebesleid (Kreisler)
12. Sicilienne Op. 78 (Faure)
13. Die Lotosblume Op. 25 (Schumann)

14. Lasst mich allein Op. 82 (Dvorak)
15. Der Nussbaum Op.25 (Schumann)
16. Vale sentimentale Op.51 (Tchaikovsky)
17. Ave Maria (Donizetti)

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