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Symphonic Music: August 2008 Archives

Tonal Fantasies

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Schwann Musica Mundi 11618

Franz Schreker
(1878-1934)

Chamber Symphony for 23 Solo Instruments (1916) 1
Prelude to a Drama (1913) 1
Valse Lente for Orchestra (c1908) 2
Night Interlude (1903) 2

1 Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra/Michael Gielen
2 Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra/Karl Anton Rickenbacher

Koch Schwann Musica Mundi CD11618 58:32

There have been a number of recordings of Schreker's music in recent years, including operas and orchestral music. The chamber symphony immediately reminds one of Ravel's Rapsodie Espagnol but there are soon echoes of Richard Strauss, the predominant apparent influence on the other works on the CD, although you might find traces of Szymanowski or Mahler. Chandos has also released two CDs of other Schreker orchestral music, CHAN9751 and CHAN9797, in which his lush scoring is well demonstrated.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Kalinnikov Orchestral Music

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Melodiya 1000169

Vasily Kalinnikov
(1866-1901)

Suite (1891-2)
The Cedar and the Palm (1897-8)
Bylina Overture (1892)

USSR Symphony Orchestra/Yevgeny Svetlanov
Melodiya MELCD1000169 63:28

The most substantial work here is the 39-minute Suite. About half an hour of that is taken up with an andante and an adagio, but with tempo fluctuations within. The atmosphere of Borodin's In the Steppes of Central Asia is prominent. The other two works are also immediately appealing. Those who have already been seduced by Kalinnikov's two symphonies will need no further recommendation.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Poulenc Rarities

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Avie AV2135

Francis Poulenc
(1899-1963)

Les Animaux Modèles (1940-42)
Concert Champêtre 1 (1927-8)
Improvisations #13, #15 (Hommage à Edith Piaf) 1 (1958-9)

1 Stefano Bollani, piano
Filarmonica '900 del Teatro Regio di Torino/Jan Latham-Koenig
Avie AV2135 74:03

Les Animaux Modèles is the least-known of Poulenc's ballets, but has just as much charm and wit as his other works in the genre. Concert Champêtre is familiar in its intended guise as a harpsichord concerto, but sounds equally fine with a piano soloist : Poulenc himself played it in this form. The two solo improvisations complement a most tempting program.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

A Dutch Treat

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Etcetera KTC1326

Johan Wagenaar
(1862-1941)

Sinfonietta, Op. 32
Aveux de Phèdre, Op. 41 1
Symphonic Poem "Levenszomer", Op. 21
Symphonic Poem "Elverhöi", Op. 48
Overture "De Philosophische Prinses", Op. 39
Larghetto for Oboe & Orchestra, Op. 40 2

1 Janny Zommer, soprano
2 Ingrid Nissen, oboe
Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra/Eri Klas
Etcetera KTC1326 74:32

A varied program of music by a Dutch composer who wrote in many forms in loosely late Romantic style. Some may know Elverhöi (Elf Hill) from music by several other composers, notably Gade. All the music, written 1903-1939, is played with considerable panache. A byway well worth exploring.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Symphony of the Son

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CPO 999531

Siegfried Wagner
(1869-1930)

Symphony in C Major (1925)
Later version of the second movement (1927)
Eklogue (after Liszt)

Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Werner Andreas Albert
CPO 999531-2 59:08

Although written in 1925, the symphony is firmly late-Romantic in style and orchestration, sounding occasionally like such composers as Suk and with the odd nod to father Richard: it runs about 46 minutes. The Eklogue, an orchestration of #7 from Book 1 of the Années de Pèlerinage, is a short makeweight.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

To The Memory of FDR

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EMI 86101

Erich Wolfgang Korngold
(1897-1957)

Symphony in F Sharp Major, Op. 40 (1952)
Six Simple Songs

Barbara Hendricks, soprano
The Philadelphia Orchestra/Franz Welser -Möst
EMI Encore 86101

Dedicated to the memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Korngold's Symphony Op. 40 is a link in a musical chain reaching from Richard Strauss and Mahler to the film music of John Williams.

In listening to Op. 40, the film buff might notice quotes from Korngold's scores to the films "Juarez", (second movement); "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex", "Captain Blood", "Anthony Adverse," (third movement); and in the fourth movement – themes from King's Row. The music is exciting and spacious, and the Philadelphia Orchestra is in top form.

The songs will greatly please people who enjoy the lieder of Mahler and R. Strauss. Barbara Hendricks has a clean, strong voice particularly well-suited to this beautiful material.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]
Trumpet