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Symphonic Works Import


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Audio CD, Import, September 18, 1993
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Odense Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Tamas Veto
  • Composer: Franz Syberg
  • Audio CD (September 18, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Kontrapunkt
  • ASIN: B000003V7X
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,217,905 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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The music of Franz Syberg (1904-1955) has experienced a modest revival the last twenty years in his native Denmark. It is indeed well-crafted, appealing music, and it is a pity that there isn't more of it - Syberg stopped composing at the age of 37, and there is only something in the vicinity of 25 pieces or works to his name. The Sinfonietta dates from 1934 and is in most respects a full symphony. It is cast in one movement divided into a number of sections lasting for a total of approximately 23 minutes. The musical material is concise and clear and developed with some ingenuity, and there are many interesting incidents and details along the way. The orchestration is a tad awkward at times, although there are many delectably scored, chamberlike passages here as well. Stylistically, it sounds like a somewhat more modern Carl Nielsen, sharing some of the same airy qualities yet also looking towards contemporaneous neo-baroque or neo-classical elements. Syberg's obstinate and uncompromising use of counterpoint might also make the music sound a tad more forbidding than Nielsen's, however.

The Adagio for strings dates from 1938 and is a well-developed and rather beautiful interlude. The symphony from 1939 is, however, clearly the central work here. The reliance on counterpoint remains, but the whole work is lighter and more effortless. Stylistically, there are elements that suggest Hindemith and Stravinskian neo-classicism at its most benign, as well as Nielsen and Holmboe, but Syberg manages to carve out a sound-world for himself. Cast in three movements, it is easy to hear the work as a move from subtle, chamberlike transparency to grander, more monumental material and textures in the final movement.
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Format: Audio CD
Reference point: I admire and enjoy the work of Nielsen, Langgaard, Holmboe...however this Syberg "find" is bottom fishing.

Often there is ample reason works go unperformed and "neglected." In this case it is that Syberg had little to say and is utterly dwarfed by better known Danes. These are works written simply becuase the composer could write, not because he had great talent or a vision for the ages. Indeed, the works are very very dull and without the many elements of rare genius found in so many symphonic works of composers named above. The performances are equally dull. This is one of those CD discoveries that yields little for the listener. Skip it.
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