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Georg Gerson, F.L. Ae. Kunzen: Symphonies

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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Overture In D Major
  2. Adagio, Quasi Andante-Allegro
  3. Andante
  4. Menuetto. Allegro & Trio
  5. Rondo. Vivace
  6. Allegro Moderato
  7. Andante
  8. Menuetto I & II
  9. Presto

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Orchestral Works from Denmark 2 Sept. 2015
By bejart7092 - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Whether George Gerson (1790-1838) was born in Germany or not, he found success as a composer in Denmark. Had he lived more than 35 years, he might be better known today. The author of several overtures and string quartets, he also composed numerous songs, a single violin concerto and the 1817 symphony that is the centerpiece of this recording.

Written in 1812, the D Major Overture begins with a menacing introduction in minor, before brightening with the advent of a delightful string driven melody. Adeptly deploying the tonal coloration of the winds, Gerson demonstrates a sure-handed command of the full orchestra while relying on the tympani and horns for rhythmic punch.

Building from the opening horn chorale, an expansive ‘Adagio’ uses ominous rolling tympani to lead into a leisurely ‘Allegro’ of the compound 1st movement of Gerson’s only symphony, penned in E Flat. Employing a variety of instrumental pairings, he displays considerable skill as the relaxed development section unfolds and expounds the melodic themes. Gentle strings carry the serene ‘Andante’, with faint horn echoes and haunting oboes coloring the musical landscape, a fine example of Gerson’s distinctive writing for winds.

Amid the playful syncopations of a genial’ ‘Menuetto’, a wind dominated trio in C Minor lurks. With its ominous undertones and sly humor, this 3rd movement is one of the high points of the disc. Adroit use of fugal passages characterizes the finale, a rousing ‘Rondo Vivace’ that finds the horns and tympani returning in full force.

Born in Germany to a family of organists, Friedrich Kunzen (1761-1817) abandoned the study of law and moved to Denmark in 1784, hoping for a musical career. After a disaster of an opera nearly derailed his dream, he was appointed the director of the Royal Orchestra.

Composed in 1795, his G Minor Symphony opens with a hushed ‘Allegro moderato’ featuring string led phrases notable for their leisurely restraint. With no flutes in the score, and as clarinets were just being introduced into symphonic writing, Kunzen employs only the horns and lower winds for bits of orchestral color. Lacking the full palette of the later composer, he harkens back to an earlier time when string dominated symphonic works were the norm. Despite these apparent limitations, this 1st movement is a charmer, a beguiling excursion with subtle menacing undertones.

Opening with a single oboe, the following ‘Andante’ proceeds with a deliberate pace. Although written in G Major, it features frequent minor chords that hint at something more sinister. Also in G Major, the ‘Menuetto’ contains an engaging rhythmic stutter amid the frisky syncopations. The concluding ‘Presto’ returns to G Minor with a vengeance, closing the symphony with a driving urgency not found in the other 3 movements. Showing characteristics of typical Sturm und Drang works, such as large intervals and unexpected angularity in the musical themes, sharp dynamic contrasts and a racing accompanimental line in the lower strings, it’s a terrific ending.

The recording by CPO is first rate, clear and distinct with excellent separation of the orchestral sections. Under the spirited direction of Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Concerto Copenhagen combines a delicately nuanced reading with a rollicking energy. It was not only in Vienna and the more familiar centers of Europe that produced high quality symphonic works. These fine compositions offer proof of that.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 14 April 2016
By Douglas Laing - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Absolutely the best!
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed this jazz 16 Feb. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
i was visting san jose and my son in law introduced me to your cd by roy gerson ...really enjoed same ...
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