JOSEPH BOHUSLAV FOERSTER (1859-1951): Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Op. 141, In den Bergen, Op. 7.
Catalogue Number: 06L001
Reference: 632 1493-2
Description: This symphony, the third of Foerster's five which are, in effect, requiems or memorials, was finished in 1929, 25 years after the Fourth. No. 1 was in memory of his mother, No. 2 his sister; this one was the conscious result of his attempts to come to terms with the death of his 16-year-old son Alfred in 1921 (a theme based on the letters of this name forms the basis of the opening movement). Unusual about this symphony is Foerster's use of almost-quotations (from Der Rosenkavalier, Tosca, Rusalka and the end of Bruckner's F minor Mass) which seem charged with concrete meaning but which was likely only specifically meaningful to the composer. In den Bergen is the work of a 25-year-old but even here, Foerster's contemplative and introspective nature is in evidence in the first movement, "Melancholy", while the following "Sunny Day", "Evening Dreams" and "Village Festival" give rare evidence of Czech folk music of a decidedly sunny and Dvorákian kind. This got recorded, presumably, since a coupling was needed for the last of the symphonies; but will the label continue with the three or four other unrecorded orchestral pieces in Foerster's catalogue, perhaps coupled with the three concertos? Osnabrück Symphony Orchestra; Hermann Bäumer.