PAUL JUON (1872-1940): Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Symphony in A, Op. 23, Fantasy on Danish Folk Songs, Op. 31.
Catalogue Number: 11Q002
Reference: CDS 1103-2
Description: More than in his piano and chamber music, one can hear Juon's Russian heritage (he was born in Moscow but spent most of his professional career in Germany) plain as day in these two works. In fact, the 1906 Fantasy with its bell-sounds (deriving from a Danish carillon in a watchtower which plays one of the themes Juon chose) suggests that the main influence on this piece was Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Overture of 1888. The symphony comes from 1903 and its very first notes are plainly Russian folk music. Tchaikovsky was also one of the young Juon's major influences and there's plenty of him in both works but what makes the symphony fairly unique is that it sounds like Brahms and Rimsky got together, had a drunken evening, and produced an alternate version of Brahms' Fourth - you'll hear echoes of that symphony's final movement's Passacaglia in Juon's first movement which is called - Come Passacaglia. The symphony derives all of its motifs from those notes at the very beginning, making for a remarkable degree of unity and the Russian flavor is instilled within a strict Germanic form. Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Christof Escher.