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   Symphonies: July 2009 Archives

Neglected Russian Symphonies

Chandos CHAN10390

Sergey Taneyev

Symphony #1 in E Minor (1873-4)
Symphony #3 in D Minor (1884)

Russian State Symphony Orchestra/Valeri Polyansky
Chandos CHAN10390 63:48

Sergey Ivanovich Taneyev (not to be confused with his uncle, Aleksandr Sergeyevich, also a composer) has become much better known in recent years by recordings of his string quartets, his Suite de Concert for Violin and Orchestra, and even an incomplete piano concerto. These two works have some similarities to other Russian symphonies of the period, but gradually Taneyev's fingerprints become more distinct. Note that the work that was long known as his first symphony (in C Minor) is really #4, and is now generally identified that way.

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[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - ]

Swiss Symphonies

Guild GMCD7320

Fritz Brun

Symphony #5 in E Flat Major (1929)
Symphony #10 in B Flat Major (1953)

Moscow Symphony Orchestra/Adriano
Guild GMCD7320 68:30

The composer, conductor and pianist Fritz Brun is the most important Swiss symphonist of his generation. He studied with Mengelberg, and had a long, successful career in the concert hall. His fifth symphony is perhaps his most experimental in terms of tonality, while remaining melodic and approachable throughout. The tenth and final symphony is an even more traditional work. His sound world is very much that of Bruckner and Brahms.

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Nordic Capriccio

Phono Suecia PSCD710

Erland von Koch

Nordic Capriccio, Op. 26 (1943)
Symphony #2, "Sinfonia Dalecarlica" (1945)
Viola Concerto, Op. 33 (1946-66)
Suite #1 from the Ballet "Cinderella", Op. 24 (1942)

Johanna Persson, viola
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/B. Tommy Andersson
Phono Suecia PSCD710 72:41

Yet another neglected Swedish composer, Koch has much to offer. The breezy and energetic Nordic Capriccio and the symphony both have strong links with the music of Atterberg while the viola concerto, as viola concertos often are, is a reflective, somewhat rhapsodic piece. The ballet suite is light and airy. All in all, a very satisfying CD.

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A New Means of Expression

CPO 777041-2

Ernst Pepping

Symphony #1 (1939)
Symphony #2 (1942)
Symphony #3 (1944)
Piano Concerto (1950)

Volker Banfield, piano
North West German Philharmonic Orchestra/Werner Andreas Albert
CPO 777041-2 133:34

Whose music does Pepping's sound like? Difficult to say – occasionally Reger appears, sometimes Richard Strauss, at other times Hindemith. If the music of any of these composers appeals to you, it's likely that Pepping will, too.

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

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - ]

Little-Known Swede

Phono Suecia PSCD719

Yngve Sköld

Symphony #2, Op. 36 (1937)
Violin Concerto, Op. 40 (1941)

Tobias Ringborg, violin
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Tuomas Olula
Phono Suecia PSCD719 65:38

The Swedish composer Sköld displays a variety of moods and influences in these two works. The symphony has echoes of Sibelius without sounding particularly like him, and such composers as Elgar and possibly Barber appear fleetingly. The concerto is indebted to those by Szymanowski, but the finale has an almost jokey quality. This label, devoted to Swedish composers, has some interesting music which has mostly been otherwise unrecorded.

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