It seems that conductors are rarely good composers. In the case of Otto Klemperer, the works of his that I've heard (with the exception of the Merry Waltz) are dreadful! Bruno Walter's Symphony #1 sounds like the work of someone with inverse Tourette's syndrome, i.e. generally vulgar outbursts, with occasional sweet-sounding interludes. Furtwängler's works are a mixed bag: conservative, self-indulgent, long-winded, but yet often genuinely moving. In the case of the great conductor Volkmar Andreae, however, we encounter a composer of considerable talent with regard to thematic development and colorful orchestration. His Symphony, which, despite its division into four movements, is really a one-movement work with four recognizable sections, although it isn't clear to me that the "slow movement" isn't really two movements in one. How to divide up the symphony, however, is of no importance whatsoever. This is a symphony of constant transformation of thematic materials. We begin with a stately and serious tone, develop into terror, continue on to a dirge, then suddenly become giddy and almost happy, then transforming itself into a foot stomping Ländler, and then finally turning into a celebration! I felt a strong urge to stand up and cheer by the time the work ended. This isn't mindless happy music; it's music which encompasses all of life's experiences, and in a timespan of less than half an hour!
The other works are no less stunning. Andreae's musical voice seems to be basically Germanic, but with considerable influence from Maurice Ravel at the same time. It's tonal, but in no way hackneyed. Yes, there are moments when his music may even sound like Mahler or other contemporaneous composers, but it never sounds imitative. Andreae has a unique musical voice, and, even more important, his music is enthusiastic and confidant. I want to hear more from this composer!