HEINRICH VON HERZOGENBERG (1843-1900): Odysseus - Symphony for Large Orchestra, Op. 16, Violin Concerto in A, WoO 4.
Catalogue Number: 05L001
Reference: 777 280
Description: As all of you know who've been collecting Herzogenberg's chamber music recordings on this label, the composer in his early years was in the New German School of Liszt and Wagner and, after a several-year period of soul-searching when he composed nothing, decided to move back to the conservative, traditional camp of Brahms and his followers. Almost everything we've heard from Herzogenberg has been after his "return to Brahms"; the Odysseus symphony, however, is his last programmatic work from the early period. Dating from 1872, it's a 48-minute work in four movements: "The Wanderings", "Penelope", "The Garden of Circe" and "The Banquet of the Suitors". Affinities with Wagner are everywhere with several citations or references to three Wagner operas and leitmotifs for Odysseus and Penelope are important elements of three of the four movements. The concerto was written for Joachim, who, after tortuous years of consultations with Herzogenberg, never performed it and it was never printed. Finished in 1889, its three movements last 32 minutes. The work stands out for its lyricism throughout the first two movements; no dramatic confrontations or antagonistic musical struggles here. The final movement is a lively, dance-like movement which adds some athleticism and energy to the beauty of the first two. Unusual for its period. Ulf Wallin (violin), Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern; Frank Beermann.