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Woldemar Bargiel: Complete Orchestral Music, Vol. 1 / Siberian SO; Dmitry Vasilyev

Notes & Reviews:

The largely forgotten Woldemar Bargiel (1824–97) was one of the best-known composers of his day, an important teacher and Clara Schumann’s half-brother. This important new recording from Toccata Classics hosts the Siberian Symphony Orchestra and its principal conductor Dmitry Vasilyev performing the first recordings of his only symphony and his three published orchestral overtures. The Symphony (1864) has a Beethovenian drive, and the overtures (from 1852, 1856 and 1861), which are symphonic poems in all but name, lie downstream from Schumann, with added Brahmsian weight and power.

American Record Guide, March/April 2015
It's an excellent work excellently played. Dmitry Vasilyev, who has been principal conductor of the Siberian Symphony (known at home as the Omsk Philharmonic) since 2005, projects all of the above elements with a strong forward flow, incisiveness, and excellent balances. The violins and woodwinds are in top shape. The engineers capture a true stereo perspective. The album sounds like it was recorded in a studio instead of in the redeveloped Omsk Philharmonic Hall, which gets three interesting paragraphs in the liner notes.


Very interesting music from a gifted composer during a transitional era
This CD features four orchestral works from Woldemar Bargiel, a well-known composer during his lifetime (1828-1897). Bargiel was Clara Schumanns half-brother, and this provided him the opportunity to refine his musical gifts working with Claras husband Robert. Bargiel, as indicated in the well-written liner notes, studied at the Leipzig Conservatory on the recommendation of Mendelssohn where he worked with Hauptmann, David, and others. At his final examination he had the first movement of an octet for strings performed by Joseph Joachim as first violin (another Brahms connection).

As for the music, I found it very interesting. The Symphony in C Major, Op. 30, is very Beethovian in the way the strings are utilized to build tension, but there are elements of Schumans music in the work as well. The Overture to a Tragedy, Op. 18, starts with dark low strings, but takes on characteristics of both Beethoven and Brahms at various points, the usage of the clarinet feeling particularly like Brahms as does the way the strings accompany. The Overture to Prometheus, Op. 16, definitely starts off with a Beethoven-like nobility and lovely horn work from the Siberian Symphony Chorus this piece is the closest to Beethoven on the recording and maintains that feel throughout the work, which also features a lovely and richly noble ending. The last piece, Overture to Medea, Op. 22, begins darkly and is definitely Brahmsian in mood and overall tone. The strings really get a workout in this piece, and the results are glorious.

Kudos to Conductor Dmitry Vasilyev and the Siberian Symphony Orchestra, who make music fabulously from the first note to the last, and the recording quality is excellent. This was a wonderful musical adventure, as I was not previously familiar with Bargiel I am very much looking forward to Volume Two in this series. Strongly recommended.

Submitted on 02/24/15 by KlingonOpera 
Mid-century Romantic Masterworks
Music talent definitely ran in the family. Woldemar Bargiel wasn't just a well-respected composer. He was also the half-brother of Clara Wieck Schumann, a pianist and composer of no mean ability herself. Woldemar also won the respect of her husband Robert. He also worked closely with Brahms, co-editing editions of works by Chopin and Schumann.

Toccata Classics begin their traversal of Bargeil's orchestral music with a major work and three characteristic ones.

Bargiel's 1864 Symphony in C major seems a little old-fashioned, reminding me of Mendelssohn's first symphony written 20 years before. Like that work, the influence of Beethoven is easy to hear.

Still, Bargiel's symphony is a well-crafted work, delivering on the drama and heightened emotions that dominated the Romantic aesthetic. And Bargiel carefully devlops his motifs, bringing them through to logical and satisfying conclusions.

The remainder of the release features concert overtures, the genre that Bargiel was best known for. In these short works, Bargiel uses dramatic contrasts between instrumental groups to keep things moving. It's easy to understand why they were popular. Bargiel delivers one tuneful episode after, catching up the listener in the excitement of the moment (well, at least this listener).

The Siberian Symphony Orchestra have a clean and balanced sound, and Dmitry Vasilyev should be given credit for directing performances that bring out the best in this music.

I can't wait for volume two!
Submitted on 05/15/15 by RGraves321 
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