Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Felix Draeseke: IVth Symphony

For all of you who'd like to read this in English... if at all...

Felix Draeseke, creator of the "Christus" oratory tetralogy, has also written four symphonies. Each of them is fascinating in its own right, last but not least because they have been dug out and made available to the public only over the last few years. Now the label cpo has finally released a CD containing the first and fourth symphonies as well as the "Gudrun" ouverture.

The recording is great. The orchestra sounds very clear; there are only a few moments where the music sounds somewhat "thick". But the music... the Fourth is, as a composition, a true discovery, a funny piece of music full of witty ideas, brilliantly orchestrated, with formidable counterpoint (as usual with Draeseke), and yet the overall tone is very light. You wouldn't believe it's a late work.

Agreed, Brahms's "Academic" is airy and laid-back, but Draeseke's Fourth and the "Academic" surely are on a par.

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