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  • Draeseke: Symphonia tragica, Op. 40 / Gudrun, Overture / Penthesilea, Symphonic Prologue, Op. 50
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Draeseke: Symphonia tragica, Op. 40 / Gudrun, Overture / Penthesilea, Symphonic Prologue, Op. 50


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Audio CD, January 22, 2002
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Wuppertal Symphony
  • Conductor: George Hanson
  • Composer: Felix Draeseke
  • Audio CD (January 22, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: MDG
  • ASIN: B00005B47D
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #283,558 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Symphonia Tragica Op. 40: Andante
2. Symphonia Tragica Op. 40: Grave
3. Symphonia Tragica Op. 40: Scherzo
4. Symphonia Tragica Op. 40: Finale
5. Gudrun (1882): Overture
6. Symphonic Prologue To Penthesilea Op. 50

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chris C. Hill on November 28, 2009
The more Draeseke is played, the better he sounds. Every one of the four symphonies is strong, but they lack a performing tradition. Historically and aesthetically, Draeseke, like Bruckner and Brahms, sits midway between the heroic directness of Beethoven and the complex ironies of early 20th-century Viennese music by Mahler and others. This oversimplifies, but the important point is that Draeseke, like the best of his contemporaries, was finding something new and quite his own to say about ways of relating the complexities of life's highs and lows -- or, if you prefer, music's highs and lows. And in that 'something new' is a palpable tension between directness and ironic indirection (a tension I don't hear in the winning but more aesthetically conservative symphonies of Bruch and Dvorak). Because there's no performing tradition, we don't have yet a seasoned musical rhetoric that grows out of Draeseke's original voice.

Sometimes with an unsung composer the best we can do at first with a passage is be reminded of another composer and then be disappointed that the follow-through goes in a different direction, doesn't push the familiar buttons. Personally, it wasn't until I'd listened to the "Tragica" a number of times that I started to understand where Draeseke was going with that title.

This symphony aims not to be an expressive "Pathetique," nor a solution to problems resolved by feeding the brass section martial perorations. To quote Amazon reviewer A K Howe, it manifests a newly forged symphonic "idiom which synthesizes the 'New German' music of Liszt and Wagner with ... traditional classicism..." That makes it historically interesting. But its interest is far more than historical.
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