Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|George Szell, Robert Heger, Hans von Bulow|
Szell, Hegen, Bülow, Weingartner: Original Music by Legendary Conductors
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A pleasant surprise...
vmzfla | Orlando, Fl. | 07/11/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"We usually think of composer/conductors such as Mahler and Richard Strauss, whose legendary compositions overshadowed their conducting. This album offers a unique reversal of skilled conductors dabbling in composition. Even today many conductors have at least tried their hand in composing for at least the educational value of it. George Szell, whos highpoint was his 24yr. tenure with the famed Cleveland Orchestra, contributes a splendid sequence of short variations. The simple memorable melody expanded upon, is influenced by R. Strauss, Szell's mentor and composed as mature as any teenager could. Robert Heger is most noted for a directing career in opera. The "Verdi Variations" was his most successful orchestral work, based on a theme from the Verdi opera "Un Ballo in Maschera". It is comprised of seven themes and a finale. Though it uses a full orchestra, it is light in nature, but there are dramatic strokes as needed throughout. Hans von Bulow studied with Wagner and Liszt, and was a champion for his interpretations of Brahms. "Nirwana" was his first important orchestral composition. It relects the symphonic poems of Liszt and Wagner's "Faust". It is noted for portions of "harmonic dissonace", very much criticized in it's day. Bulow uses a philosophical/Eastern religion flavor in his work. It is a passionate orchestral fantasy of his youth, that his student Richard Strauss particularliy admired. Felix von Weingartner's career took him from Berlin to Vienna and he was as astute in symphony as he was in opera. His exuberent concert overture "Lustige", molded in the sonata form features two contrasting themes. Weingartner's command of the large symphony orchestra is evident in the work. Leon Botstein is to be commended for the resurgence of these works and he is given enthusiastic support from his players and engineers."
David Saemann | 01/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an altogether fascinating disc. All four pieces contribute greatly to appreciating the overall musicality of these conductors. The Szell Variations is an astonishingly mature work for an 18 year old. It is beautifully constructed and orchestrated, and is heavily influenced by Der Rosenkavalier. Heger's Verdi Variations is perhaps not as coherent as Szell's piece, but it is always vigorous and builds to a splendid climax. The theme is from A Masked Ball. Nirwana, by Von Bulow, is a highly forward looking work for its time, with much musicianly exploration of despair. And Weingartner's Overture has a real swing to it, and is always, at the least, engaging. Botstein's performances seem excellent, and the Lithuanian orchestra plays with panache and good ensemble. The sound engineering, unfortunately, is by a Vilnius-based company. It has good presence, but is highly opaque in its tone quality. Still, no one should be deterred from exploring this interesting disc."