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Eugen D'Albert: Symphony Op. 4; Seejungfraeule

Album Summary

>d'Albert, Eugène : Seejungfraulein, scena for voice & orchestra, Op. 15
>d'Albert, Eugène : Symphony in F, Op. 4
Performer Conductor Ensemble
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Notes & Reviews:

If you know Tiefland or Die toten Augen (CPO 999692) then you now have the opportunity to get to know an entirely different d'Albert. The twenty-year-old's first and only symphony continues to breathe a Brahmsian spirit and yet earned the greatest praise from Richard Strauss. The concert scene Das Seejungfraulein (The Little Mermaid) composed ten years later and representing art nouveau of the greatest musical sensuality celebrates its recording premiere on this disc.

"It is an astonishingly fine work for a composer so young and inexperienced. D’Albert had a real gift for melodic themes that are immediately engaging and yet also substantial enough to undergo real formal symphonic development. If his grasp of symphonic form is unoriginal and consciously imitative of Brahms, it is nevertheless technically competent and assured, and his ear for orchestration is always apt and colorful. As for the compositional style, while Brahms and sometimes Schumann are ever present and prominent, there are surprisingly close affinities to another great composer and near contemporary whose work would not generally become known in Europe for another 15 years—Edward Elgar... Herman Bäumer and the orchestra (Osnabrück is in northwestern Germany, northeast of Münster) offer lively playing with a fine sense of ensemble, abetted by evident conviction and commitment, making the best possible case for both works. The symphony is a keeper that should delight any fan of 19th-century Romantic symphonic repertoire, and makes this disc well worth acquiring." -Fanfare

"The Symphony in F major, Op. 4 (1884), is early and an extremely assured work for a composer who was then pushing the tender age of 20; Strauss heard it in the late 1880s and expressed his admiration for it, and the premiere was given in 1894 by Hans von Bülow. This would be the only symphony d'Albert would compose and it is stylistically rather straightforward and uncomplicated, though it runs rather long at 50 minutes. It can be seen as a typical Beethovenian symphony updated to certain integrity of Brahmsian post-romantic behavior, but in 1884 that would not have been considered reactionary. It has been recorded once before and combined with d'Albert's Cello Concerto, but certainly a second recording of a work so obscure and deserving is welcome... d'Albert's music here should please any connoisseur of the late romantic and both recording and performance in CPO's Eugen d'Albert: Symphony Op. 4 -- Seejungfrauen Op. 15 are done exceptionally well." -All Music Guide

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Stadthalle Osnabrück, Europasaal (12/10/2007-12/12/2007).


Shimmering performances of two glorious orchestral works by Eugen d'Albert
Let me begin by saying that any recordings of the music of this fabulous and neglected composer are a welcome treasure. d'Albert was a phenomenal pianist, a prized student of Franz Liszt, and as such is generally viewed as a pianist who wrote some pretty good piano music. True, his works for solo piano, those I have heard, though indeed very good, and with touches of genius, are not in the same league of those of Liszt and the other great 19th Century composers for the piano. However, much of his Orchestral writing and many of his Operas (he wrote at least 20) are reported to be of the first rank, lush late romantic music, worthy of the great post-Wagnerian tradition. I have heard only two of the operas and would love to hear more. There is a sweetness to his orchestration, a seductive delicacy in his handling of vocal lines and a touching lyricism to his melodic flow that at once make his music ever so gorgeous and somewhat dated. That this impeded his success while some of his contemporaries were forging ahead with music for the future is undeniable. But from where we stand now, beyond the context of the contemporary, d'Albert's music merits another serious listen. The two works on this CD are early d'Albert. The F Major Symphony, a lovely pastoral piece on a grand scale, looks to Brahms for guidance. Not yet representative of the fully mature d'Albert, it is nonetheless very beautiful. The Op. 15 "Seejungfr√§ulein" (Mermaid) for soprano and orchestra makes use of the composer's full blown orchestral pallet, and the marvelous vocal writing one has come to expect in his later work. This piece alone is worth the price of admission. And soprano Anna Kasyan has a lovely voice, perfectly matched with the timbres of the orchestra. The performances by Hermann B√§umer and the Osnabr√ľk Symphony Orchestra are certainly more than adequate, and while perhaps not of the caliber of the Berlin Philharmonic, not many orchestras are. I heartily recommend this CD to anyone who loves the music of the late Romanic era and wishes there were more to hear.
Submitted on 03/08/10 by Leni Bogat 
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Works Details

>d'Albert, Eugène : Seejungfräulein, scena for voice & orchestra, Op. 15
  • Performer: Anna Kasyan
  • Conductor: Hermann Bäumer
  • Notes: Stadthalle Osnabrück, Europasaal (12/10/2007-12/12/2007)
  • Running Time: 16 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1897

>d'Albert, Eugène : Symphony in F, Op. 4
  • Conductor: Hermann Bäumer
  • Notes: Stadthalle Osnabrück, Europasaal (12/10/2007-12/12/2007)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral