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Symphonies 1 & 2

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Audio CD, March 18, 2003
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 18, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B000088DUE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #451,061 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 4, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Alexander Zemlinsky (1871-1942) has been primarily remembered as an opera composer; indeed I look forward to a concert performance of his opera 'The Florentine Tragedy' this August at the Aspen Music Festival, conducted by James Conlon who has made a specialty of Zemlinsky's music. This CD combines performances from two earlier releases on Marco Polo of Zemlinsky's first two symphonies, the First with Ludovít Rajter conducting the Slovak Radio Symphony (Bratislava), and the Second with Edgar Seipenbusch conducting the Slovak Philharmonic.
The First Symphony was written in 1892 while he was in his early twenties and still a student of Joseph Fuchs at the Vienna Conservatory. This three movement work is fairly typical of its time, making extensive use of Wagnerian chromaticism. The first movement is practically monothematic and Zemlinsky takes his attractive theme through numerous chromatic transpositions and effective dramatic manipulations before it arrives at a pensive ending. The second movement makes use of theme, harmony, orchestration and insouciant off-beats surprisingly similar to those Elgar employed in some of his lighter pieces like 'The Starlight Express' or even 'Falstaff', and it is charming; for me it is the most successful part of the symphony. The final movement is an introspective and slightly portentous adagio with a long, rather generic singing line; it ends in a deepening melancholy which is understated, even resigned.
The Second Symphony from 1897 shows more consistent technical assurance. The first movement, Sostenuto, opens with a confident Brucknerian horn-call that develops into a swaggering, even aggressive sonata allegro; there are moments reminiscent of a slowed-down Dvorak furiant.
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Symphonies 1 & 2
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