WORYSCH: Suphony No. 3, Op. 70. Dre Böcklin-Phantasien, Op. 53.
Oldenburgisches Staatsorchester/Thomas Dorsch, cond.
CPO 777 923 TT: 60:11
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HOVHANESS: Prelude and Quadruple Fugue, Op. 128. Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and Strings, Op. 34. Symphony No. 48, Op. 244 "Visions of Andromeda."
Greg Banaszak, saxophone/Eastern Music Festival Orch/Gerald Schwarz, cond.
NAXOS 8.559755 TT: 55:48
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MAHLER: Symphony No. 2 in C minor "Resurrection."
Caatherine-Wyn-Rogers, mezzo-soprano. Alish Tynan, soprano; Royal Liverpool Corus and Orch/Gerard Schwarz, cond.
ARTEK 61 (2 disks)_ TT: 47:51 & 32:35
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SCHOEK: Sommernach (Pastorale Interlude for String Orchestra). Sonata for Bass Clarinet and Orchestra. Penthesilea (Suite for Large Orchestra). B esuch in Urach.
Raachel Hatnisch, soprano; Bernard Röthlistberer, bassoon; Berner Symphony Orch/Mario Venzago, cond.
MIGROS CD 6281 TT: 61:58
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GRAENER: Piano Cncerto Op 72. Sinfonietta, Op. 27. Three Swedish Dances, Op. 78. Divertimento, Op. 67.
Oliver Triendl, piano/ Munich Radio Orch/Alun Francis, cond.
CPO 777 697 TT: 63:43
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German composer Felix Woysrch (1860-1944) is another relatively unknown being resurrected by the enterprising CPO lable. They already have issued two disks of several of his symphonic works including Symphony No. 2. Now we have his fine disk of Symphony No. 3 (he composed 7), along with his three orchestral works inspired by paining's of Alexander Böcklin, played by Oldenburgisches Staatsorchester conduced by Thomas Dorsch, Woyrsch had a respectable but unexceptional career as organist. conductor and composer, his music influenced by Brahms and sometimes Liszt and Wagner. Apparently he was instrumental in formation of what would later become the Hamburg Philharmonic. His Symphony No. 3, is long (34:16) and in four movements. No question that Worysch knew his craft, but in spite of its often colorful orchestration, there is little here to attract major orchestras and conductors—and audiences. . However, there is interest in the three fantaisies based on paintings by grapc artist and sculptor Arnold Böckln (1827 - 1901). The three are The Isle of the Dead, the Hermit, and Play of the Waves. These were written around 1910, and one cannot ihelp but wonder if he had heard Rachmannoff's symphonic poem bsed on the same painting. Worysch's work is much more concise than Rachmaninoff's (less than 9 minutes), but quite effective in recreating the dismal scene. In addition we have the two other "fantasies," intriguing listing indeed. Max Reger also wrote tone poems with Backlin's poems as the subject, All of these are far more interesting than the mundane symphony. Performances are excellent, and the CPO engineers hove done their work well.

Alan Hovhaness (1911-2001) is a favorite composer of Gerard Schwarz, who alreadyhas recorded numerous works of the American composerincluding eight symphonies. Here now is a new disk with new repertory, the Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and Strings written in 19980, and one of his more interesting symphonies, No. 48 subtitled Visions of Andromeda, Hovhaness at his best in depicting images the wonders of the galaxy Written in 1982, it here receives its world premiere recording. We also have the conductor's second recording of Prelude and Quadruple Figure, Op. 124, probably included as it was on the concert given during the Eastern Music Festival in Dana Auditorium in Guilford College, Greensboro, North Carolina, in July 2013. The saxophone concerto is a fluid, melodic delight. Dedicated performances of all, beautifully played ad recorded with Naxos' usual sonic expertise.

Gerard Schwarz has now completed his Mahler symphony cycle with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. Here he completes the series with the mighty Resurrection, a performance recorded live in Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall recently but on an unspecified date. This performance has stiff composition from major orchestras and conductors. The two disks sell for the price of one, but this performance is far removed from preferred versions.

This site enthusiastically greeted an SACD issue of Othmar Schoeck's Elegie, Op 36, a large-scale work for baritone and chamber orchestra (REVIEW). Now we have another surround sound disk, this one offering a wide variety of music by this Swiss composer whose rich orchestral textures are reminiscence of Straus. Described as, "the most modern, radical work on this recording," the sonata for bass clarinet and orchestra, composed 1927-28, originally was written with piano accompaniment but is heard here in an orchestration by Willy Honegger. It short (13:11) a pleasant diversion often displaying humor, and the brilliant performance by Werner Reinhart, recorded close-up gives the listener an almost surreal picture of the instrument's low register. We also have a 17-minute suite of music from his opera Penthesilea. The disk opens with his most famous work, the pastor ale intermezzo Sommernacht. amid ends with a treasure, Besuch In Urach, a setting of 12 verses of a poem by Edouard Mörike about love and innocence. It is a memorable addition to the catalog: (this is its first recording). And the performance is glorious. Swiss soprano Rachael Harnish obviously is a singer to watch. She already has recorded with Abbado. Her's is an exciting voice indeed. The complete text is provided. Audio is superb throughout and well-baanced, except that, there are, at several points in Besch In Urach there are some non-musical low frequency thumps, particularly at 11:00. I still would not want to be without this recording.

Paul Graener (1872-1944) is another little-known composer featured on CPO. Born in Berlin, he spent considerable time in England before moving to Vienna where he held several leading teaching positions. In 1930 he returned to Berlin and joined the Nazi party. He composed 8 operas, all forgotten today, concertos for piano, cello, violin and flute, and many works for chamber ensemble. CPO already has two CDs of Graener's music, which I have not heard (but I plan to). This third disk offers a varied program highlighted by the exciting brief three-movement piano concerto. It is difficult to explain why this vigorous work has been neglected. Pianist Oliver Triendl tosses it off in great style. Also there are two works for strings, Sinfonietta, Op. 27, and Divertimento, Op. 67. Both of these also have been neglected. There is no note-spinnng here. Three delightful Swedish Dances complete this CD. The Hamburg Orchestra is first-class under Alun Francis's knowing leadership. Alhough not so stated, it could be all of these are premiere recordings. A notable release!

R.E.B. (May 2015)

 

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