In many ways the Fourth Symphony illustrates Krenek's independence from any one musical style – and ultimately from his teacher(s) and those who influenced him, like Busoni, too. It has a thread of mid-century anguish and uncertainty. But it could never be described as avant-garde or experimental. Yet it's of a pleasing unity, has direction and thrust which make it more than merely stimulating listening. Like all but those of the first and second symphonies, this one on cpo is the only recording. It's full of purpose, clarity and of transparent, open, yet very …….Mark Sealey @ classical.net
Suffice to say Schnittke's Eighth Symphony is truly one of his greatest works and, indeed, one of the great symphonic works of the latter twentieth century. The charge of oppressive asceticism laid against the Sixth and Seventh symphonies can hardly be held up to this expansive and frankly emotional work. It is as if Schnittke relaxed the skeletal sounds of his previous essays in the genre and, while not quite returning to the dazzling orchestral pyrotechnics of the Fifth Symphony (Concerto Grosso no. 4), created a work of great sincerity and beauty. The first movement is an obsessive repetition of a wide-ranging (in pitch, not rhythm) melody, seemingly effortlessly varied to touch on all sections of the orchestra. The climax is reached early in the movement and the remainder is a chilling decrescendo, the harmonies becoming more static and dissonant. The second and fourth movements are bitter, angry and Shostakovichian in their use of dissonant intervals to create a long line. They share thematic material, yet shards of the first and third movements invade to further complicate the texture. The eighteen minute third movement is a remarkable achievement. It seems to pick up the wisps of tonality discernable at the end of Mahler's Ninth and convert them into a long elegy for a lost romanticism. The sparsity of texture (often long stretches of monophonic strings) throws the emotive weight totally on the long, twisting and often stunningly beautiful melodies that emerge. The entrance of the low brass towards the end is just one of the profound moments in this stunning meditation on life, and the afterlife. After the rage of the fourth movement, the fifth movement provides a truly wonderful solution to the problems of the previous ones- a slowly ascending c major scale is caught by various instruments, always ppp and the work ends with this visionary cluster.Amazon.com
The late Alfred Schnittke has, after his death, been accused of writing too much music of variable quality. This debate is still raging although suffice to say that the Eighth Symphony truly is one of his greatest works and indeed, one of the great symphonic works of the latter twentieth century. The charge of oppressive asceticism laid against the Sixth and Seventh symphonies can hardly be held up to this expansive and frankly emotional work. It is as if Schnittke relaxed the skeletal sounds of his previous essays in the genre and, while not quite returning to the dazzling orchestral pyrotechnics of the Fifth Symphony (Concerto Grosso no. 4), creating a work of great sincerity and beauty. The first movement is an obsessive repetition of a wide-ranging (in pitch, not rhythm) melody, seemingly effortlessly varied to touch on all sections of the orchestra.
Given the depth, range and quality of the Deutsche Grammophon catalogue, it’s hardly been difficult to put together another anthology of great recordings and great artists. The structure is as before – here are 53 original albums (including three double-sets), featuring the great names of Deutsche Grammophon’s recording history, presented, once more, in alphabetical order of artist. Claudio Abbado leads off with a complete Carmen and Krystian Zimerman rounds off with his memorable account of the Chopin Ballades.
This is the world premiere recording of Vasks' second symphony. It is a 40-minute, one-movement work which opens with a glorious bang, with the orchestra at its most powerful and busy. A few minutes in, Vasks offers us repose which is almost religious, there is a buildup and then more reflection, and a long crescendo to great might again. The work ends on a beautifully introspective, soft, haunting refrain. Vasks is primarily a Romantic, so the work is tonal; there are touches of Kancheli (but not as much breast-beating), Shostakovich (again, not as pessimistic).
Swiss-born Bloch, a pupil of Eugène Ysaÿe, emigrated to the United States in 1916. Written in 1926, two years after Bloch had become an American citizen, America: An Epic Rhapsody, is the composer’s tribute to his adopted country. This romantic and patriotic score vividly surveys the history of the US from the native American melodies of pre-colonial days to the modern era of 1920s jazz and beyond. The Concerto Grosso No 1 is a bold statement which unites the eighteenth-century concerto grosso form with a modern tonal language.
The unprecedented expansion of music in the age of enlightenment
The eighteenth century is probably the most extraordinary period of transformation Europe has known since antiquity. Political upheavals kept pace with the innumerable inventions and discoveries of the age; every sector of the arts and of intellectual and material life was turned upside down.