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The Symphonies; The Suites for Orchestra; Overtures [Box set]

Bamberger symphoniker , Joachim Raff , Stadlmair Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £64.25 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Conductor: Stadlmair
  • Composer: Joachim Raff
  • Audio CD (18 Jan 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 9
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: TUDOR
  • ASIN: B002QV20VS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 216,949 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Symphony No. 1 in D Major, Op. 96, 'An Das Vaterland'
2. Symphony No. 2 in C Major, Op. 140
3. Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 153, 'In the Forest'
4. Symphony No. 4 in G Minor, Op. 167
5. Symphony No. 5 in E Major, Op. 177, 'Lenore'
6. Symphony No. 6 in D Minor, Op. 189
7. Symphony No. 7 in B Flat Major, Op. 201, 'In Den Alpen'
8. Symphony No. 8 in a Major, Op. 205, 'Sounds of Spring'
9. Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 208, 'In Summer'
10. Symphony No. 10 in F Minor, Op. 213, 'In Autumn'
11. Symphony No. 11 in a Minor, Op. 214, 'Winter'
12. Suite No. 1 for Orchestra, Op. 101
13. Dame Kobold Overture
14. Benedetto Overture
15. Marcello Overture
16. Die Parole Overture
17. Concert-Ouvertüre, Op. 123
18. Abends (Rhapsodie)
19. Suite No. 2, 'In Ungarischer Weise'
20. Overtures to 'The Tempest', 'Othello', 'Macbeth', 'Romeo & Juliet'
See all 23 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Stadlmair/Bamber So

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unjustly neglected 22 May 2010
Verified Purchase
In his time, the 1860s and 70s, Joseph Joachim Raff was among Europe's premier symphonists. Mendelssohn and Schumann had gone to their (tragically early) graves and Bruckner and Brahms had yet to publish a symphony. Sadly, Raff is now all but unknown - how passing time alters perspective!

He gave us eleven symphonies, eight of which have subtitles, and all very typical of high Romanticism. Echoes of Mendelssohn and Schumann abound, together with one very clear allusion to the slow movement of Beethoven's ninth and the occasional foretaste of Brahms and Bruckner. These are orchestrated magnificently for a composer who was largely self-taught.

Hans Stadlmair and the Bamberger Symphoniker took on a project to record all the symphonies, the four suites for orchestra and some of the overtures from 1999 to 2005, and this is the first time a single orchestra and conductor have attempted this. Marco Polo recorded the symphonies in the 1980s and 1990s, but not all with one orchestra/conductor combination.

So was the project a success? Yes, but with something this complex, it has to be a quialified yes in that some of the individual recordings are better than others. Nonetheless, they are of a consistently satisfactory standard and it is clear that before setting out on this journey, Stadlmair immersed himself in the scores. The Bamberger Symphoniker too, take on this project with considerable gusto (they have also recorded Raff's violin and cello concertos and Shakespeare overtures under Stadlmair).

The overall sound is excellent, with remarkable breadth and depth to the sound stage. The German label Tudor appear to have no particular "house sound" although the general sound quality is straight out of the top drawer.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Tudor, but its not your fault... 17 Jan 2012
By paulk
Although good value for the number of CDs, the complete Raff symphonies box-set is still a considerable expense, but because I'd read the 5-star reviews and already had a CD or two of Raff's overtures and concertos with the same orchestra and conductor, which were quite good, I thought I would take a chance. In working my way numerically through the CDs, however, I came to realise that despite Raff's undoubted craftsmanship in instrumentation and compositional flow there are several persistent problems with his musical thought and manner of presentation. The recordings here are committed, with fine playing and direction, although I believe that some of the faster more forceful outer movements would have benefited from a bit more contrast of light and shade in dynamics. However, the reason I'm only giving 3-star rating here is because I feel the substance of these compositions lacks true symphonic meaning and depth, which ultimately makes the listening experience a disappointment. Raff depends too much on Mendelssohn-style rapid string passages for one thing - a device which may serve to lighten sections but has a frequent tendency to render them shallow when used too much - at which point interest begins to flag. At other times he can't quite make up his mind whether to be Schubert, Schumann, or Beethoven. Also, convinced that he has composed a pretty tune or march, he seems, incredibly, not to have the sensitivity to know when to stop repeating it, subjecting the theme to too much exposure, and through variation, which often betrays its near salon-style triviality. Raff does seem anxious not to bore his listener and tries so hard for variety, but, unfortunately, to the extent that he begins to become formulaic in his methods of orchestral build-up and variation. Read more ›
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The return of a giant 25 April 2010
By Robert Coulter - Published on Amazon.com
At long last, Tudor have boxed Hans Stadlmair's cycle of Raff's symphonies. This is an important effort by Stadlmair -- at the time of Raff's passing, he was among the most oft played composers in the concert halls of the world; a recognised giant. From that point on, however, his star waned until by the 1970's he had fallen into absolute obscurity. Fortunately, since then, we have seen several important steps taken in the rehabilitation of his reputation and legacy. Firstly, there was Bernard Herrmann's recording of Raff's excellent 5th symphony with the London Philharmonic in 1970. Later came the excellent recordings of two of Raff's finest creations -- the Ode au Printemps for piano and orchestra and the piano concerto -- by Peter Aronsky with Matthias Bamert conducting; it comes on this separate Tudor release. And then, there is Stadlmair's traverse of much of Raff's orchestral output...

This 9 cd box set incorporates all of the Tudor full-price (and now very hard to get!) releases involving the symphonies (rather than list them, I'll leave it to you to use the search facility; I'm sure you'll manage!). However, the box does not contain all of Stadlmair's recordings of orchestral music by Raff -- somewhat bizarrely, it omits the Shakespeare Overtures release. Now, while I wouldn't say thats an unmitigated disaster, it is a little disappointing. I can see absolutely no reason as to why Tudor would have decided to do this. Still, you can always snap up one of the last copies of that disk separately.

And what of Raff's music? Without getting into any technical details, I would describe Raff as an optimist; his music almost always seems to have a positive feel to it, and he never fails to lighten my mood. Personally, I find him a joy to listen to. This in no way should be interpreted as me saying Raff lacks depth or an ability to write "serious" music; its simply that his personal style has a wonderful freshness and vitality to it. It is very easy to understand why he was so popular in the concert halls of his day and much harder to fathom why we so rarely see him in the concert halls of today (in fact, I have never seen a live performance of any of his works).

This really is a great release by Tudor. Raff's 11 symphonies are worthy of your attention and now having them released at a decent price is a veritable boon to those who (unlike me!) didn't search out all the original releases individually. Raff really is a lost giant. Get this box and see what we are all missing. But don't stop there either; while you're at it, you really should get hold of the Ode au Printemps disk mentioned above, as well as the truly wonderful Six morceaux for violin and piano too.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start your Raff collection here 25 Oct 2010
By R. Lieblich - Published on Amazon.com
There's no question that Raff was a gifted composer who mastered all elements of composition. Choose any movement from any of his 11 symphonies and you can hear that. If he lacked anything, it was the ability to write really powerful music. He won't knock you over the way Beethoven or Brahms or Bruckner or Mahler can. In this respect he's more like Dvorak or Schubert, or the Mendelssohn of Midsummer Night's Dream and the Octet. In fact, his scherzos, without sounding like rip-offs, bear a family resemblance to Mendelssohn's. And his dancier music (in his orchestral suites and here and there in his concertos and chamber music as well as the symphonies) is reminiscent of the spirit of Dvorak's many dance compositions, but in a more Austro-Hungarian vein. (Yes, he was Swiss, but his music seems to come from further east.)

Looking at his body of work -- 11 symphonies, at least five major concertos, four suites for orchestra, eight string quartets, five violin sonatas, etc. -- it's tempting to complain that he should have done more self-censoring. Yet in bulk it's somewhat less than Beethoven's output, and like Beethoven Raff was able to maintain a high level throughout his entire ouevre -- though not as high as Beethoven, of course.

I've also heard the entire Marco Polo series of symphonies and a couple of the CPO symphony recordings, as well as Bernard Herrmann's pioneering LP of "Lenore." Stadlmair takes the blue ribbon. He is plainly a Raff enthusiast, and he errs, if at all, in the direction of highlighting the Music's many felicities. His orchestra is steeped in Raff's idiom and has the chops to make it sound easy. If you're a romantic and you buy this set, there's no way you'll be able to avoid getting hooked on Raff. Then you can explore the many other works available on Tudor and CPO. But start here -- you have many hours of pleasure ahead of you.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raff is someone to discover 16 April 2010
By Book and Music Lover - Published on Amazon.com
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Who ever heard of Joseph Joachim Raff (1822 - 1882)? If you like "Romantic" symphonic music, this CD collection is a must. I don't know why Brahms, Schumann, Bruckner and other Romantics are so often performed and not Raff. These symphonies are as good as the genre gets. Included also are "overtures" and veritable tone poems, each of which is enjoyable. This is one of the best buys I have made in a while. Hightly recommended.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A glorious find 16 Jun 2010
By Andrew F. Dolan Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Who knew that one could find a composer that you never heard of and revel in their symphonic accomplishments - all with one purchase. Raff composed only 11 symphonies, and each is a treat for the ears. No, you won't listen to all of them and be humming snatches and snippets as you would Mozart, but what you will hear is rich, complex and worthy of many return visits. Raff's last four symphonies are devoted to the seasons - one each - and he does what other composers should have done...give each season its due.

If all this isn't enough, the package also includes a number of his other works to fill out the nine CDs included in the boxed set.

Truly, this is a rare find and one worthy of anyone who enjoys classical music not often heard by the masses.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another convert 12 Jun 2014
By Jaromir Benesch - Published on Amazon.com
I had never heaad of Raff when I read an article in the NYTimes about "lost" romantic composers. At that time only one symphony #5 was on CD and I bought it. Simply stated I was mesmerized. Certain that it had to be just an imppression, I put it on the shelf and took it out months later. It got better the more I listened. Eventually as more of his orchestral and chamber works were released on CD, I bought them all. (Early on I read the listing on Raff in Grove which dismissed him as incorrectly mixing Bach-style counterpoint with romantic melodies.) But that's eactly why Raff's music is so very, very pleasing. The structure is always solid. Unlike Tchaikovsky or Bruckner there are no sudden shifts of mood. Unlike Brahms there is no awkward filler. The works build and flow. No symphonist after Mozart built his works so solidly. The melodies may not be stunniingly memorable but they are always sweetly romantic, and Raff truly knew how to utilize each instrument to full effect. Each symphony builds to a reasonably big climactic end. Now you can purchase all eleven symphonies as led by a conductor who has trruly mastered this music. I'd advise everyone to grab this set.
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