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  • Sym No 1 Op 16 in E Major
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Sym No 1 Op 16 in E Major

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Audio CD, October 31, 2006
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 31, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: CPO
  • ASIN: B000I2IUNY
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #607,589 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sehr Schnell Und Feurig
2. Sehr Ruhig Und Getragen
3. Presto
4. Allegro Moderato

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 22, 2006
Never heard of Hermann Bischoff (1868-1936)? Well, neither had I. He was a student of Richard Strauss's although only four years younger. He also studied with Ludwig Thuille, another dominant figure in Munich musical life of the era. And he was a colleague of Ernst Boehe whose two volumes of music also recorded on cpo I was not particularly impressed by. But Bischoff is a more talented composer than Boehe and this shows in his First Symphony, an hour-long feast of Straussian orchestration and, in the first movement at least, of Straussian melodic counterpoint. That twenty-minute first movement is a humdinger, even though the galumphing rhythms do tend to make the music sound just the least bit trivial. (I kept thinking of Till Eulenspiegel because of its Bavarian good humor.) The second movement, sehr ruhig und getragen, is a quarter-hour island of melody and quietude that comes before a naively clomping, almost Brucknerian, scherzo. The Allegro moderato finale alternates between good humor and radiant musing.

The symphony as a whole does not really hold up formally, but each of the movements on its own has something interesting or moving to say. Indeed, Bischoff was not sure himself that he had composed a symphony, but rather wondered if it was a collection of four tone poems. He did not, however, give the individual movements (or the symphony as a whole) any sort of program or non-musical description and one is left having to accept the work as a charming and euphonious near-miss. There are certainly marvelous moments, and there are some passages in which Bischoff's craft serves a greater purpose, but mostly one moves from moment to moment without there being a sense of an overall design.
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I largely endorse the views of the reviewer who preceded me here. Listening to Bischoff's First Symphony, I found myself largely un-enthralled. The first movement starts out sounding like a comic overture and later has hints of Richard Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel, suggestions of which continue throughout much of the rest of the entire work. Well, reading about Bischoff later, I guess that should have come as no surprise, since the composer did run in Strauss' circle. I confess that while it had its moments, the symphony, published in 1906, is not likely to rate a second hearing in my house. Bischoff's Second Symphony, while no great shakes itself, has a bit more focus to it. In any case, if you're on a personal journey of discovery seeking out of the way late Romantic composers, this might rate at least a quick side trip.
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