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Sym/Seejungfraeulein

Osnabruecker So Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 14.49 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Mar 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Cpo
  • ASIN: B003122H7S
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 446,294 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Seejungfraulein, Op. 15, for Soprano & Orchestra - Anna Kasyan/Osnabruck Symphony Orchestra
2. Symphony, Op. 4 in F Major - Osnabruck Symphony Orchestra

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mix of Brahms Schumann Schmidt early Strauss 15 Mar 2010
Format:Audio CD
For admirers of the byways of classical music around the turn of the 1900s this is a release for you. It's not always fair to compare a composer with others and it's certainly not fair to look for (more famous?) composers who could have motivated Eugene D'Albert to write good and sometimes great music. His opera Tiefland is, for me, a great verismo-like work, Die toten Augen a very interesting opera (CPO recorded that one too) and now you've the opportunity to hear his symphony and a very beautiful scena (orchestral song) for soprano and orchestra which rivals and complements Richard Strauss' songs in this genre. The symphony is a long work, 50 minutes, but I had no problem keeping concentrated. It takes it's time laying out all it's hidden tunes, it's not very tuneful on first hearing, be warned!, but you'll get rewarded playing this music 3 or 4 times in a week.
The other big surprise on this excellent disc is the playing of the Osnabruck Symphony orchestra. Is this the same orchestra which sounded so under rehearsed, thinnish and false (trumpets!) on recent disc of Foersters' symphonies on the MDG label I wondered. Yes it is! Here they play very very good, maybe they got more rehearsal time or they like the music much better, I don't know, chapeau for them. And the recording of this orchestra is very fine produced too, much much better than the MDG disc, timpanis are clear, violins nicely bloomed, I like it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I usually only review discs which nobody else has reviewed but I thought I'd add my voice to that of the irrepressible and inimitable Mr Voogd because you really must not miss this release. Dating from 1884, D'Albert's symphony is an astonishingly assured work for a composer barely out of his teens. It is an enormous improvement on the unbearably prolix First Piano Concerto. Indeed, it is not a moment too long. Much of the music is heavily indebted to the symphonies of Brahms and it is hardly an exaggeration to say that it doesn't fall far short of its great models. The first movement is built on strong melodic material which after, as Mr Voogd says, a few hearings will imprint itself on your memory. It is, of course, a sonata structure. The opening theme is stated at once and the second subject arrives at 2 mins 7 secs. Various other themes are thrown into the melting pot including a strongly rhythmic idea for the strings and, at 4 mins 54 secs, a woodwind idea which would have made Brahms blush. There is also a short idea (first heard at 4 mins 5 secs) which reappears in the scherzo and which is to crown the symphony. I was going to say that this was an obvious crib from Cesar Franck's Symphony until I noticed that that piece wasn't premiered until 1889. The development section is substantial and splendidly argued. It really is most impressive. The recapitulation, beginning at 9 mins 30 secs, is regular. There is an eloquent coda.

The slow movement, which Richard Strauss found "enormously enjoyable", is also impressive. It proceeds in an unassuming Brahmsian manner employing a string of attractive ideas, the most important of which is heard on the clarinet at 4 mins 19 secs. However, D'Albert has a surprise in store.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shimmering performances of two glorious orchestral works by Eugen d'Albert 9 Mar 2010
By Leonard Bogat - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Let me begin by saying that any recordings of the music of this fabulous and neglected composer are a welcome treasure. d'Albert was a phenomenal pianist, a prized student of Franz Liszt, and as such is generally viewed as a pianist who wrote some pretty good piano music.

True, his works for solo piano, those I have heard, though indeed very good, and with touches of genius, are not in the same league of those of Liszt and the other great 19th Century composers for the piano. However, much of his Orchestral writing and many of his Operas (he wrote at least 20) are reported to be of the first rank, lush late romantic music, worthy of the great post-Wagnerian tradition. I have heard only two of the operas and would love to hear more.

There is a sweetness to his orchestration, a seductive delicacy in his handling of vocal lines and a touching lyricism to his melodic flow that at once make his music ever so gorgeous and somewhat dated. That this impeded his success while some of his contemporaries were forging ahead with music for the future is undeniable. But from where we stand now, beyond the context of the contemporary, d'Albert's music merits another serious listen.

The two works on this CD are early d'Albert. The F Major Symphony, a lovely pastoral piece on a grand scale, looks to Brahms for guidance. Not yet representative of the fully mature d'Albert, it is nonetheless very beautiful. The Op. 15 "Seejungfräulein" (Mermaid) for soprano and orchestra makes use of the composer's full blown orchestral pallet, and the marvelous vocal writing one has come to expect in his later work. This piece alone is worth the price of admission. And soprano Anna Kasyan has a lovely voice, perfectly matched with the timbres of the orchestra.

The performances by Hermann Bäumer and the Osnabrük Symphony Orchestra are certainly more than adequate, and while perhaps not of the caliber of the Berlin Philharmonic, not many orchestras are.

I heartily recommend this CD to anyone who loves the music of the late Romanic era and wishes there were more to hear.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine performances of a rewarding program 2 Sep 2012
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Eugen d'Albert wrote some 21 operas, of which only Tiefland is heard with some frequency if at all (some three others are available on disc). He also composed a number of instrumental works, though after having encountered his rather disappointing piano concertos I approached the disc at hand, containing his single symphony and the dramatic scene for soprano and orchestra Seejungfräulein, with some trepidation. The latter was penned in 1898 for his third wife, the dramatic soprano Hermine Finck, based on HC Andersen's well-known story. Lasting for 17 minutes, it is an engaging and often beautiful work, building up from gentle lyricism to a glittering culmination; certainly worth hearing.

The symphony is an early work (1884), and is (at 50 minutes) overlong in the manner of the composer's early, interminable first piano concerto. Fortunately, the symphony is a better work - although the thematic material is not particularly distinguished, it is generally rather pleasing, and d'Albert conjures up some fine colors and evocative atmospheres. One would perhaps have wished that he would have procured some substantial cuts in every movement (the scherzo movement, for instance, goes on for 11 minutes but could say everything it has to say in half the time). So it is not a masterpiece by any standards, but I am nevertheless glad to have heard it and willing to hear it again.

The Osnabrücker Symphony Orchestra provides compelling and committed performances, finely colored and phrased and not without energy. Anna Kasyan is overall very convincing in Seejungfräulein, which remains the primary attraction here. The sound is fine, and so are the accompanying notes. In sum, this is a fine release, worth investigating by lovers of romanticism, but don't expect anything revelatory.
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