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Thread: Neglected German and Austrian orchestral composers and works of the late romantic era

  1. #91
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    The earlier scorn of musicologists certainly helped seal Raff's fate, but now it's something more insidious: the sheer laziness of conductors. They all have to have their say on the holy canon of the standard rep. Every new baton wielder has to put his (or her) stamp on Beethoven, Mahler, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak et al. Too busy or lazy to explore the off beat repertoire. Well, at least there are some who are curious, but not enough!

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  3. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
    The earlier scorn of musicologists certainly helped seal Raff's fate, but now it's something more insidious: the sheer laziness of conductors. They all have to have their say on the holy canon of the standard rep. Every new baton wielder has to put his (or her) stamp on Beethoven, Mahler, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak et al. Too busy or lazy to explore the off beat repertoire. Well, at least there are some who are curious, but not enough!
    Yes, I agree, it is the current standard rep orientation of conductors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rw181383 View Post
    If I may add another composer, the Austrian Ludwig Thuille (mainly known for his Sextet), wrote one symphony and a piano concerto.
    In his youth Ludwig Thuille (1861-1907) was a friend of Richard Strauss, who later premiered one of Thuille's work's. Composer also of 3 operas, chamber music, song cycles, and choral music, Thuille was a noted teacher at the Munich Hochschuele, where his composition students included Richard Wetz, Ernest Bloch, and Walter Braunfels.

    I, for one, will be supportive of any comments (almost!) on his symphony!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eramire156 View Post
    Readers of this thread might be interested in the following site: Unsung composershttp://www.unsungcomposers.com/forum/index.php
    Thank you for this link. From one of the posts on it I turned to BBC Magazine, September, 2017, p. 62 where among the CD's suggested for exploration after hearing Schubert's Symphony No. 9 (Great C Major) are:

    Max Bruch: Symphony No. 1, London Symphony/Hickox, Chandos CHAN 9784
    Joachim Raff: Symphony No. 2, Orchestre de la Suiss Romande/Jarvi, Chandos CHSA 5117
    Robert Fuchs: Symphony No. 1, WDR Symphony Cologne/Steffens, CPO 7778302

    Some serious recordings of the composers we're discussing!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eramire156 View Post
    I can't decide if I like von Reznicek or not, currently listening to his dance symphony, his ironic symphony did make me smile, I won't dismiss him out hand and give another listen.
    rw181383 & Eramire 156 -- Here are some speculations -- I could be wrong -- upon listening to Emil von Reznicek's Dance Symphony (No. 5). As I mentioned in yesterday's post about Raff's Symphony No. 5, in a program symphony the inter-relation of the program and the symphony structure is fascinating -- much more than one simply matching the other. I like the work -- Reznicek is a natural composer and sophisticated orchestrator with a mordant/loopy sense of humour:

    1. Polonaise -- the first dance at a ball, and kind of macho, so its position in the symphony as first movement is fitting
    2. Czardas -- Hungarian dance that has a slow opening (lassu) and fast ending (friss) plus other tempo changes. The solo violinist is typically showy . . . In this movement the fast parts seem comically shortened -- because it's the slow movement of a symphony!
    3. Laendler -- rustic Austrian dance and precursor of the waltz; but this is a sophisticated waltz with zero rusticity IMO.
    4. Tarantella -- Well, Mendelsson's Italian Symphony ends with a tarantella, but this one is over-the-top. The middle section sounds like music from a filme noir -- perhaps a parody?
    Last edited by Roger Knox; Oct-19-2017 at 22:59. Reason: grammar

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    A composer born 1820-1850 and not yet mentioned is Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901), from Leichtenstein and active in Munich as composer and teacher of important students. Listening to his A Florentine Symphonie, No. 2, (1874) I am impressed by the opening movement's classical construction and the second movement's elegance. But the third and fourth movements are mediocre in melodic inspiration. The same is true throughout in the energetic Wallenstein, Symphonie no. 1 (1866), which is sometimes labelled a symphonic poem.

    Though not German or Austrian, Saint-Saens IMO is the one who writes energetic, "busy" music that also becomes inspired and, if I dare say so, Romantic. Just heard a classic recording of his Organ Symphony no. 3 by the National Orchestra of Paris/Jean Martinon with Marie-Claire Alain, organ, and it's a beautiful example of flexible pacing, phrasing, and balance that compares favourably with the various orchestras and conductors on Raff symphony recordings, for example.
    Last edited by Roger Knox; Oct-22-2017 at 19:13.

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  12. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by rw181383 View Post
    If I may add another composer, the Austrian Ludwig Thuille (mainly known for his Sextet), wrote one symphony and a piano concerto. Here’s his Symphony in F major:
    Ludwig Thuille's Symphony in F major is a fine achievement by the 25-year-old composer whose melodic gift, natural elegance with form and appealing orchestration make it one I'll go back to. He seems to have gravitated to chamber music; one feels he's not swinging for the fences. I like the second movement's melody and the minuet's light touches, but there is power in the outer movements also. Some sense of neo-classicism . . . an excellent choice!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
    Decades ago, there was very little known about Raff and hearing his music was almost impossible.
    I just wish more orchestras would be adventurous enough to play some of it live!
    mthaub, I've now listened to Joachim Raff's Nos. 2, 4, and 11 as well. Recommend them all! In Symphony No. 2 (1867) it's the energy from the bright 6/8 time opening movement onward -- he never misses a step in this one. There is lots of variety in No. 4 (1871) from the wave dynamic in the opening theme to the movement's stormy development section -- followed by a deft scherzo -- an effective passacaglia as the 3rd movement -- to the lively dance feel in the finale. I guess being from Canada makes me partial to Symphony No. 11 "Der Winter," and yet it's that cute, breathy trio of flutes in the slow movement that gets me every time. Whatever could it mean?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orfeo View Post
    Felix Draeseke comes to mind. I find his First Symphony highly rewarding (the middle movements are quite terrific) and its successors are fine (esp. the Third). He was highly regarded during his lifetime.

    While I agree that Schmidt deserves a mentioning in regards to this topic (as does Robert Fuchs, by the way), Karl Goldmark is also worth a mention, at least in my estimation. The 1990s was sort of a renaissance in the promotion of his works (via recordings most of all), and the Queen of Sheba is getting its dues, if slowly and unevenly. But this otherwise fine composer has ways to go to get himself more firmly in the repertoire.
    OK, coming down the home stretch and I'd like to ask for info and comments including recommended recordings on the above composers (except for Schmidt who we've covered.) Also for Friedrich Gernsheim and Heinrich von Herzogenberg. Let's get busy!
    Last edited by Roger Knox; Oct-24-2017 at 14:12.

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    Listening to the first two of Friedrich Gernsheim's four symphonies -- what a discovery!!! Beautiful works, can't wait to hear Nos. 3 & 4 . . .

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    UK based readers may be interested to know that The London Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing the British premiere of Joseph Marx's sumptuous 'An Autumn Symphony/Eine Herbstsymphonie', at the Royal Festival Hall, London, on 29th November 2017. This is the full programme:

    Respighi Autumn Poem
    Chausson Poème
    Marx An Autumn Symphony (UK premiere)

    Vladimir Jurowski conductor
    Julia Fischer violin
    London Philharmonic Orchestra

    Hopefully it will justify the four hour plus journey from the North. Really looking forward to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rw181383 View Post
    Ok, just one more...Thomas Schmidt-Kowalski (1949-2013). Completely out of this threads time frame, but I had to mention him. Not only is he already neglected, he felt that Romanticism in music transcended time. Have a listen to Symphony No. 3 (2000!!!):





    Thanks for this suggestion. I have just started listening to his works and am already falling in love with them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Templeton View Post
    Thanks for this suggestion. I have just started listening to his works and am already falling in love with them.
    You’re welcome!!

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    I love the Franz Schmidt symphonies. I purchased the Jarvi set about 15 years ago from MHS. There is a progression in compositional form from one to the next. Great stuff.
    It is good to see Raff getting some attention. I enjoy several of his works.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KJ von NNJ View Post
    I love the Franz Schmidt symphonies. I purchased the Jarvi set about 15 years ago from MHS. There is a progression in compositional form from one to the next. Great stuff.
    It is good to see Raff getting some attention. I enjoy several of his works.
    Great to hear from you! All the Schmidt symphonies are wonderful. So far I have listened to Raff's Nos. 1-6 and 11, with Nos. 7-10 on my list; the majority so far are excellent works.

    Having listened to all four of Friedrich Gernsheim's symphonies I plan to buy the set, because I feel he's a genuine "natural" composer of symphonic music whose music can flow like honey, stir up a storm, pause for a thought, and so on. There is so much that he does well and that brings me to a state of bliss. To think that despite my 50-years+ serious involvement in classical music I had never heard of him . . . well, at least I'm making up for lost time!

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