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  • Draeseke: Symphony No. 2 in F, Op. 25 / Serenade in D, Op. 549
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Draeseke: Symphony No. 2 in F, Op. 25 / Serenade in D, Op. 549

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Audio CD, March 1, 2002
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Radio-Philharmonia Hannover des NDR
  • Conductor: Jörg-Peter Weigle
  • Composer: Felix Draeseke
  • Audio CD (March 1, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: CPO
  • ASIN: B00005YW0O
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #427,344 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Keon Garraway on January 4, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I have the first 3 symphonies of Draeseke. I originally bought his 3rd Symphony first, then his 1st symphony coupled with his Piano Concerto, then I got his 2nd symphony for Christmas 2009.
Additionally I have two chamber works by him. I have his Stelzner String Quintet in A major and his Piano Quintet in B flat major.
I will say that only after being immersed in the style of this composer that I could have seen him as a great composer in his own right.

It is easy to try to reference his symphonies to works that went before i.e Schumann and Mendelssohn, and works present i.e Wagner and Liszt, but after careful consideration, Draeseke is original as it gets. . What does him a disservice is that he is not popular hence his symphonic style and musical predilections are not easily understood. I believe with constant performances they will achieve the status that they are worthy of.

Draeseke's style is one caution, meticulousness, and superb craftsmanship. Of his 4 symphonies (he destroyed an early one), none are experimental. (Experimental symphonies are symphonies by composers who are new to the form but whose skills have not peaked. As the composer composes more symphonies his style becomes perfected. We find this in the early symphonies of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Dvorak and Bruckner). The only composer I know who has not composed experimental symphonies is Brahms. But after listening to the works of Draeseke, I will say that Draeseke is one of them. His symphonic output came after many years of composing Overtures, choruses, tone poems, operas and incidental music. His skills were well honed before his official symphonic attempts.
All of Draeseke's symphonies stand on their own, and are fully matured works. There is no hastiness.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Larry VanDeSande VINE VOICE on March 7, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Lovers of the symphonies of Robert Schumann should adore the Symphony No. 2 of Felix Draeseke (1835-1913), a German composer of late romantic vintage that wrote in a high romantic style similar to that of Schumann and Mendelssohn even though he was apparently most influenced by Wagner -- whom he called the greatest genius of Western music -- and Liszt.

Like his other symphonies, this one begins with sharp timpani and brass attacks that will remind you of Beethoven, another composer whose influence is readily apparent. But you spend hardly any time with the Symphony 2 before the connection to the symphonies of Schummann -- in particular Schumann's Symphony No. 2 -- becomes most apparent. The two are very similarly orchestrated and there are thematic similarities, especially in the first movement.

The five movement Serenade in D Op. 49 that accompanies the symphony has more of a Dvorakian mood, especially in the second and third movements, the first of which includes a cello obbligato. The seremade has more interesting construction than the symphony, with an allegro first movement followed by a true slow movement, an andante, allegretto and closing prestissimo leggiero. Like the symphony, it remains steadfastly in the mid-romantic vein of 19th century music. While both pieces offer similar high spirits, I think this is a better piece of music than the symphony.

Like they have on the other Draeskse symphony recordings in the CPO series, conductor Jorg-Peter Weigle and the Hannover German Radio Philharmoic are completely committed to this music. They play the symphony in full-throated style leaving any score subtleties on the recording studio floor. Draeseke did not compose a genuine slow movement in the symphony, nor did he let up on the gas very often.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G.D. VINE VOICE on April 19, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
While I remain underwhelmed by Felix Draeseke’s first symphony, the second is far better and worth getting to know (albeit no match for the third). Stylistically Draeseke found himself firmly rooted in tradition – influences from Schumann, Schubert and Liszt are noticeable – while at the same time incorporating elements that definitely foreshadow German late-romanticism, and as opposed to the first symphony the second also evinces a sense of humor (even more pronounced in the fourth, by the way). The symphony, composed in 1872, is not a masterpiece, but it is nevertheless an enjoyable affair, sunny, warm and occasionally cheeky, a bit like an early Dvorak symphony and – interestingly – Bruckner’s first.

An obvious drawback is Draeseke’s lack of any very memorable themes, yet the first movement moves along with energy and flair and with enough imaginative touches to sustain the listener’s interest. The Allegretto marciale that follows manages to tread a fine line between the serious, the mock-serious, and the humorous, and is actually rather original if not strikingly memorable. The scherzo is light and poetic, whereas the finale, Presto leggiero, is not only buoyant and spirited but contains some of the few really memorable thematic ideas of the work. A fine work, then, if not perhaps one that will force a rewriting of music history.

The Serenade in D is lightweight and charming, appealing but occasionally overlong – the first and last movements are the strongest, and the Polonaise is fine as far as it goes, but the love scene third movement or the Ständchen second movement seem short on inspiration.
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Draeseke: Symphony No. 2 in F, Op. 25 / Serenade in D, Op. 549
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