ERNST RUDORFF (1840-1916): Symphony No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 50, Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 24.
Catalogue Number: 01Q001
Reference: 777 458-2
Description: How about this: Rudorff is remembered today in Germany, if at all, as a founder of an environmental protection society in the late 19th century! Collectors will be happy to know that his role model for composition was Schumann (he studied with Bargiel as a child and with Moscheles, Reinecke and Moritz Hauptmann at the Leipzig Conservatory). This symphony, dating from 1911, could have been written 60 years previously; its main attraction is an example of what seems to have been a life-long propensity for intense rhythmic activity (Eduard Hanslick called the young Rudorff an adherent of the "musical Trinity of syncopation, suspension and dissonance") and its first movement is like the apotheosis of Beethoven's Seventh's "apotheosis of the dance". The slow movement is a fascinatingly original take on the "funeral march" where march rhythms appear only here and there, surfacing from the depths of a gloomy reminiscence. The shorter final two movements make the symphony seem a bit top-heavy but no one today is likely to see that as a problem. The Variations of 1874-5, inspired by Rudorff's love of Brahms' so-called "Haydn Variations", are a quite a feast - over 25 minutes of really appealing, sometimes compelling, orchestration. One hopes that this coupling indicates that cpo is thinking of doing Rudorff's other two symphonies in a second volume. Bochum Symphony; Frank Beermann.