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Thread: SS 07.07.18 - Korngold "Symphony In F-Sharp"

  1. #16
    Member Bill Cooke's Avatar
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    In my collection I have Kempe, Downes, Albert, Welser-Möst, de Preist and Previn. It may take me most of the day just to decide which version to listen to!

    I think Previn nails it in all movements except the first, which he takes too slowly for my tastes. For that reason I usually opt for Welser-Möst. If I'm remembering correctly, Kempe makes a cut in one of the movements.

    This is a great symphony. I especially love the slow movement, with material drawn from the film score ANTHONY ADVERSE; very atmospheric, building to a powerful central climax.

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  3. #17
    Senior Member Malx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Cooke View Post
    In my collection I have Kempe, Downes, Albert, Welser-Möst, de Preist and Previn. It may take me most of the day just to decide which version to listen to!

    I think Previn nails it in all movements except the first, which he takes too slowly for my tastes. For that reason I usually opt for Welser-Möst. If I'm remembering correctly, Kempe makes a cut in one of the movements.

    This is a great symphony. I especially love the slow movement, with material drawn from the film score ANTHONY ADVERSE; very atmospheric, building to a powerful central climax.
    You are correct Bill, Kempe makes a cut in the Scherzo.

    Having now listened to the Downes recording I have to say imo this is a major symphony, one of the best in the late romantic style I would ascribe it to. There are a few nods towards a more modern sound world with some spiky melodies and some hints of dissonance. However the at times hauntingly beautiful adagio is firmly placed in the romantic style - there are shades of Mahler to be heard here, what sounds like muted brass adding to the feel of the movement.

    I enjoyed it!
    Last edited by Malx; Jul-07-2018 at 22:26.

  4. #18
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    I have the Storgaards/Helsinki Philharmonic CD of Korngold's Symphony in F# on Naxos. It is a deeply-felt work and I never fail to listen to it or the Violin Concerto when the itch comes on (which is often.) Korngold's music is not superficial, it "wears well" and his genius extends over melody, harmony (wow!), rhythm, orchestration, form, text-setting and drama. I haven't yet compared this version to others but I find it highly convincing.

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    Senior Member Weird Heather's Avatar
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    I hadn't yet acquired a recording of this piece. While looking for a recording, I discovered a not-too-expensive box set entitled "Andre Previn - A Celebration". It includes this symphony (London Symphony Orchestra/Previn) and lots of other worthwhile music, including a few of Previn's compositions.

    I'm glad this one came up, and it made me wonder why I didn't manage to discover it a long time ago. I guess even in a music collection as large as mine, there can still be a few gaping holes. I love the expansive late romantic style and its evolved variants in the 20th century; this is a fantastic example and it is likely to become one of my favorites. In a way, it feels like Korngold is going down the same path as Shostakovich - taking the tradition of the massive symphonies of Bruckner and Mahler, adding his own voice, and bringing in a few modernisms. Listening to this symphony got me in the mood for Shostakovich, and afterwards I immediately started listening to Symphony No. 8, which is also in that Previn box set. It is a shame that Korngold didn't compose an entire cycle of symphonies.

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  8. #20
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    Great symphony - and the story behind it is so tragic. I have a dream concert that will likely never happen: Overture in the form of main title from either The Sea Hawk or Captain Blood. Violin Concerto. Symphony. Then get an insulin shot on the way out. I love Korngold's music so much and never tire of it. The concerto is actually becoming quite popular and I've heard it many times in concert. The symphony, not so much.

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  10. #21
    Member Bill Cooke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
    Great symphony - and the story behind it is so tragic. I have a dream concert that will likely never happen: Overture in the form of main title from either The Sea Hawk or Captain Blood. Violin Concerto. Symphony. Then get an insulin shot on the way out. I love Korngold's music so much and never tire of it. The concerto is actually becoming quite popular and I've heard it many times in concert. The symphony, not so much.
    Indeed, that would be a dream concert; however, I've come to love his piano concerto over his violin concerto. If you haven't heard it yet, I heartily recommend it. The Hyperion recording is the best version I've heard.

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  12. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weird Heather View Post
    It is a shame that Korngold didn't compose an entire cycle of symphonies.
    I couldn't agree more! I read that he was working on a second symphony at the time of his death... This symphony is a masterpiece in my view, despite its less-inspired finale. It may very well be Korngold's greatest work, though I haven't heard his highly regarded operas. The opening is so shocking and gripping - a tense, percussive burst of sound that sounds completely unlike anything else in his output. The rest of the movement retains this dark, tense mood. The scherzo is quite substantial with a hauntingly beautiful trio section. The slow movement possesses an eloquent tread that is quite moving - it was written as an elegy to FDR. The jaunty finale doesn't measure up to the gravity and imaginative qualities of the previous movements, but is enjoyable all the same. Marc Albrecht's recording on Pentatone is excellent.
    Last edited by kyjo; Jul-08-2018 at 03:38.

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  14. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyjo View Post
    The jaunty finale doesn't measure up to the gravity and imaginative qualities of the previous movements, but is enjoyable all the same.
    I am hearing you -- the way you've expressed the sense of this piece of the piece is convincing. Concerning the finale is it also possible that there is much irony? There may be superficial joy that the war is over but the whistling tune slithers about, and pensive sections are frequent -- the immense tragedy lingers and how could it not . . . I may be over-interpreting though. Really appreciate your comments!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Knox View Post
    I am hearing you -- the way you've expressed the sense of this piece of the piece is convincing. Concerning the finale is it also possible that there is much irony? There may be superficial joy that the war is over but the whistling tune slithers about, and pensive sections are frequent -- the immense tragedy lingers and how could it not . . . I may be over-interpreting though. Really appreciate your comments!
    I agree, there is a touch of irony and some darker sections in the finale. It is, ultimately, a tragic symphony after all. I'll need to listen to the work again to get a more fully-formed opinion of the finale especially!

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