VOLKMAR ANDREAE (1879-1962): Symphony in C, Op. 31, Notturno and Scherzo, Op. 30, Music for Orchestra, Op. 35, Kleine Suite, Op. 27.
Catalogue Number: 05N001
Reference: GMCD 7377
Description: After three discs of chamber music by this notable Bruckner conductor, we get 67 minutes of orchestral music. The symphony is anything but Brucknerian in size - 28 minutes in four movements, the first of which has the bracing quality of sea air, followed by a slow movement that imperceptably becomes an increasingly somber funeral march (the year was 1919 and, even if you were in Switzerland where Andreae spent almost his whole life, you knew the effects of World War I). Then a brilliant scherzo follows suggesting Gallic composers of various stripes but with a rustic, peasant-Germanic trio and the finale knits it all together with reminiscences of the main motifs which run throughout the symphony. The most remarkable thing about it may be its orchestration: clear, transparent, never heavy or convoluted yet also somehow quite powerful and sturdy. From 1918, the Notturno has ever so slightly a touch of the Szymanowskian exotic, blown away by an outdoorsy Scherzo. A nod to more modern musical language is evident in the 11-minute Music of 1929 which is a chaconne which seems to have a programmatic background. The earliest work here is the 1917 Suite, a four-movement piece of some 15 minutes which was inspired by the Venetian Carnival and the figures of commedia dell'arte. The respect won by these works is evident in the names of the conductors who either premiered or performed them in Europe and the U.S.: Reiner, Weingartner, Abendroth, Fritz Busch, Nikisch and Sir Henry Wood. Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; Marc Andreae.