JULIUS BITTNER (1874-1939): Symphony No. 1 in F Minor, Symphonic Poem Vaterland.
Catalogue Number: 04U001
Label: Toccata Classics
Reference: TOCC 0500
Description: Bittner was one of the most successful composers of opera and operetta of his day, a mainstay of musical Vienna. Unusually, he was also a practising lawyer; more unusually still, he was a double amputee, the result of the ravages of diabetes. None of his orchestral music has been recorded before – astonishingly, given the quality of the two works presented here. Vaterland (1915) is an expansive, 18-minute Lisztian symphonic poem written on a patriotic impulse early in the First World War; and Bittner’s ambitious First Symphony (47 minutes in four movements and dating from 1923 although harmonically not different from what one might have expected to hear forty years earlier), which the notes pithily characterize as “a kind of melding of early Brahms with a restrained Bruckner”, is a major piece of late Romantic musical architecture, both tuneful and grandiose. The slow movement is the most Brucknerian while the scherzo has a dose of Mahler in it. Siberian Symphony Orchestra; Dmitry Vasiliev.