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Pocket Symphonies

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 July 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B00D3HG7PE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 271,809 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Digital Booklet: Pocket Symphonies
Digital Booklet: Pocket Symphonies
Album Only

Product Description

Pocket Symphonies are twelve symphonic pieces in the form of songs. Short, infectious, beautifully melodic, and yet with the immensity and depth of symphonic-like works, Helbig draws his inspiration from centuries of power and glory. Helbig’s emotional symphonic images for orchestra and piano are closely connected to his life, experiences, aspirations and also the voids between epochs, systems and continents.

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Top Customer Reviews

By M. D. Holley TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 14 Dec. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have often been puzzled about what happened to German and Austrian classical music. After all, Germany and Austria are the homes of classical music. But after Korngold (born 1897) and Orff (born 1895), virtual silence! (that's if we exclude the meretricious 'university' music which no one loves, and which sounds as if it is stuck in the pre 1914 world).

So is Helbig the one to move German music into the twenty first century? Well it is certainly the first German music I ever heard which actually SOUNDS like it was written during my life time. That is a huge step forward in itself.

Some of this is very good indeed. I would recommend you try 'Rise', the eleventh of these Pocket Symphonies. 'Rise' exhibits tremendous energy and creative fertility, with endlessly varying rhythms, spicy and occasionally discordant harmonies. It is music which constantly dances, in a wonderful manner which reminded me of Michael Tippett.

Some of the other Pocket Symphonies pay homage to Helbig's Austrian and German predecessors. 'A Tear' has a final chord reminiscent of Strauss's 'Metamorphosen', and the spirit of the last movement of Mahler 9 is not too far away either. In 'Autumn Song', which I especially loved, the echoes are of Berg. And elsewhere the shade of Bach rises his head - for example in the wonderful fast piano solos of 'Frost'.

The orchestration is quite unusual, enabling Helbig to create his own sound world. There is much beautiful writing for solo strings and piano, and the glockenspiel (I think) has a starring role too. The sound and harmony is a little 'fatter' than many other contemporary composers, which gives it a nice German accent.

This is music that requires repeated and careful listening.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x942a6b94) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x942b25f4) out of 5 stars Welcome Back Germany! 15 Dec. 2013
By M. D. Holley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have often been puzzled about what happened to German and Austrian classical music. After all, Germany and Austria are the homes of classical music. But after Korngold (born 1897) and Orff (born 1895), virtual silence! (that's if we exclude the meretricious 'university' music which no one loves, and which sounds as if it is stuck in the pre 1914 world).

So is Helbig the one to move German music into the twenty first century? Well it is certainly the first German music I ever heard which actually SOUNDS like it was written during my life time. That is a huge step forward in itself.

Some of this is very good indeed. I would recommend you try 'Rise', the eleventh of these Pocket Symphonies. 'Rise' exhibits tremendous energy and creative fertility, with endlessly varying rhythms, spicy and occasionally discordant harmonies. It is music which constantly dances, in a wonderful manner which reminded me of Michael Tippett.

Some of the other Pocket Symphonies pay homage to Helbig's Austrian and German predecessors. 'A Tear' has a final chord reminiscent of Strauss's 'Metamorphosen', and the spirit of the last movement of Mahler 9 is not too far away either. In 'Autumn Song', which I especially loved, the echoes are of Berg. And elsewhere the shade of Bach rises his head - for example in the wonderful fast piano solos of 'Frost'.

The orchestration is quite unusual, enabling Helbig to create his own sound world. There is much beautiful writing for solo strings and piano, and the glockenspiel (I think) has a starring role too. The sound and harmony is a little 'fatter' than many other contemporary composers, which gave it a nice German accent.

This is music that requires repeated and careful listening. I am sure some will dismiss it without making that effort. For example, the review in 'Gramophone' magazine was rather condescending. It is true that not every Pocket Symphony is as good as the ones listed above - 'Zorn' sounds cheesy and bombastic to my ears, and 'Am Abend' feels a bit lightweight too.

Overall though, this represents a good start for Helbig and is certainly recommended. The beautiful tune in Eisenhuettenstadt (another fast piece) is haunting me constantly.

PS If anyone knows any other contemporary sounding German music which I missed, please pass the tip on!
HASH(0x945f7888) out of 5 stars For the more demanding listener 31 Jan. 2014
By Matt Schuster - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you like a bit more classical in your contemporary music listening and that at a level of sophistication that is unusual, like in Not the run of the mill same old same old, Seven will pleasantly surprise you. It takes perhaps a person who understands the European cultural context to understand his music.
HASH(0x944d1e7c) out of 5 stars Excellent contemporary symphonic music 11 Jan. 2014
By Virginia music lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Sven Helbig co-founded the Dresden Symphony Orchestra, which specializes in new, symphonic music.
This album, however, used the Faure Quartet and MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony. The works, 12 in all, are conducted by Kristjan Jarvi. Järvi is the younger son of Neeme Järvi, and the brother of conductor Paavo Järvi.

The pieces are short -- the longest is just over 5 minutes. While the time length is short, the pieces are long on quality. They are in different moods, from pathos to angst to energetic. They are uniformly excellent.

The overall style I would call post-romantic. Think Prokofiev, with a modern accent. Many of the pieces seem like they could be themes for dramatic movies. I say that as a compliment. I regard modern movie soundtrack writers as top notch. I'd say he sounds a bit like Horner, but he has more edginess in his compositions. I have heard lots of modern post-romantic composers and film composers and Helbig has a distinctive voice.

I recommend this without reservation. This is very high quality symphonic music with a modern tone. The recording is crystal clear and well captures the many nuances and colors in the music.
HASH(0x947c47b0) out of 5 stars Exceptional 9 Oct. 2013
By C. starkey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you wish to fall in love please get this album. An incredible sampling of classic styles blended with less traditional sounds, easy listen but profound and very emotional.I feel very fortunate that composers like Sven Helbig bring a modern perspective in the classic genre. I will be listening to this beautiful music for a long time.
1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x942e9180) out of 5 stars very very sleepy 14 Dec. 2013
By brad g dutz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
THIS IS VERY BORING PREDICTABLE MUSIC i AM very sorry I purchased This is worse than most film music...dont waste your time listening to this incredibly uninteresting music ,,,NOT one original melody or harmonic component in this terrible 45 minute disc will interest anyone witha creative mind
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