EGGERT: Symphony No. 4 in C minor (c. 1810). Alternative second movement
to Symphony No. 2 in G minor (1806)
Danish composer Joachim Nikolas Eggert (1779 - 1813) is virtually forgotten today, although during his life time he was consiudered to be a progressive composer. It is tragic that he died so young (34) as he already had to his credit several operas, much instrumental music, and five symphonies. He was a conduyctor as swell, and led the first performance of mnuysuic of Beethoven in Sweden,, and led Swedish premieres of Haydn's The Seasons and Mozart's The Magic Flute.Few recordings are available of his music although Naxos apparently issued a disk of Symphonies 1 and 3. Now we have this outstanding issue of Symphonies 2 and 4 (also included is an alternate version of the second movement). Lively folk music tunes abouind, orchestral writing ius assured, and often Eggert uses percussive effects (particularly the bass drum) most effectively, sometimes with humor. The music easily could have been writtten by Schubert or Berwald, high praise indeed. The performance is outstanding, and the recording is excellent. I look forward to more recordings of this Swedish composer. Thanks, Naxos!
About two years ago, Naxos issued a CD of music of RobertoSierra containing his Symphony No. 4 a nd a few shorter orchestral works. Nos we have the second disk in the label's American Classics series devoted toSierra. It focuses on the Puerto Rican born composer's lighter fare. Sierra has been highly praised for his major concert works many commissioned by major orchestras. These include choral works and varied concertos as well as chamber music. The Latin-American influence is obvious on this new CDo, highly rhythmic folk inspired music. Hius 2005 Symphony No. 3, contains four lively dance movements. On a more serious note, we also have a 23-minute song cycle Beyond the Silence of Sorrow for soprano and orchestra, sensiutively sung hgere by Martha Guth. This is a setting of six poems by N. Scott Momadauy, Pulitzer Prize winning American author. Most of the music is serene and atmospoheric. Titles are: Prayer to the Land, About Me Like a LRobe, To Tell You of myt Love, A Cradle for this Child, Little Newborn, and The Woman Who Walked here. Althoughh sung in English, it would have been helpful is CD notes included texts. The Puerto Rico Symphony is an expert group, and conductor Maximiano Valdés leads with a firm hanbd. Excellent audio.
Naxos here offers a Mahler oddity: Bruno Walter's arrangement for four hands of the mighty Symphony No. 2. Wakter was a close friend of the compose and there are many superb recordings, commercial and live, of the famed conductor's kinship with Mahler. A 1957 concert performance with the New York Philharmonic has been issued by Music & Arts: I actually attended that performance! I can still remember how the thrilling performance was almost destroyed when, in the soft shoral passage at the end, a stupid woman in the center of the second row decided she had to leave and clumsilhy climbed over others to make her exit. Talk about being inconsiderate! At any rate, Mahler's huge symphony surely is diminished when played on a piano. It isn't cleart just why Walter made this, and he did what he could, but the score is repleat with quickly repeated notes and tremolos in a vain effort to create a bigger sound. And, of course, there are no soloists, nor chorus. The pianists here (Masaka Nakazawa, Suhrud Athavale) do what can be done, but it is a losing battle.