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Symphony Op 4 / Seejungfraelein Op 15

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Audio CD, February 23, 2010
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Editorial Reviews



Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 23, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: CPO
  • Run Time: 67.00 minutes
  • ASIN: B003122H7S
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #533,993 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Leni Bogat on March 8, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Let me begin by saying that any recordings of the music of this fabulous and neglected composer are a welcome treasure. d'Albert was a phenomenal pianist, a prized student of Franz Liszt, and as such is generally viewed as a pianist who wrote some pretty good piano music.

True, his works for solo piano, those I have heard, though indeed very good, and with touches of genius, are not in the same league of those of Liszt and the other great 19th Century composers for the piano. However, much of his Orchestral writing and many of his Operas (he wrote at least 20) are reported to be of the first rank, lush late romantic music, worthy of the great post-Wagnerian tradition. I have heard only two of the operas and would love to hear more.

There is a sweetness to his orchestration, a seductive delicacy in his handling of vocal lines and a touching lyricism to his melodic flow that at once make his music ever so gorgeous and somewhat dated. That this impeded his success while some of his contemporaries were forging ahead with music for the future is undeniable. But from where we stand now, beyond the context of the contemporary, d'Albert's music merits another serious listen.

The two works on this CD are early d'Albert. The F Major Symphony, a lovely pastoral piece on a grand scale, looks to Brahms for guidance. Not yet representative of the fully mature d'Albert, it is nonetheless very beautiful. The Op. 15 "Seejungfräulein" (Mermaid) for soprano and orchestra makes use of the composer's full blown orchestral pallet, and the marvelous vocal writing one has come to expect in his later work. This piece alone is worth the price of admission. And soprano Anna Kasyan has a lovely voice, perfectly matched with the timbres of the orchestra.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G.D. VINE VOICE on September 2, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Eugen d'Albert wrote some 21 operas, of which only Tiefland is heard with some frequency if at all (some three others are available on disc). He also composed a number of instrumental works, though after having encountered his rather disappointing piano concertos I approached the disc at hand, containing his single symphony and the dramatic scene for soprano and orchestra Seejungfräulein, with some trepidation. The latter was penned in 1898 for his third wife, the dramatic soprano Hermine Finck, based on HC Andersen's well-known story. Lasting for 17 minutes, it is an engaging and often beautiful work, building up from gentle lyricism to a glittering culmination; certainly worth hearing.

The symphony is an early work (1884), and is (at 50 minutes) overlong in the manner of the composer's early, interminable first piano concerto. Fortunately, the symphony is a better work - although the thematic material is not particularly distinguished, it is generally rather pleasing, and d'Albert conjures up some fine colors and evocative atmospheres. One would perhaps have wished that he would have procured some substantial cuts in every movement (the scherzo movement, for instance, goes on for 11 minutes but could say everything it has to say in half the time). So it is not a masterpiece by any standards, but I am nevertheless glad to have heard it and willing to hear it again.

The Osnabrücker Symphony Orchestra provides compelling and committed performances, finely colored and phrased and not without energy. Anna Kasyan is overall very convincing in Seejungfräulein, which remains the primary attraction here. The sound is fine, and so are the accompanying notes. In sum, this is a fine release, worth investigating by lovers of romanticism, but don't expect anything revelatory.
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Symphony Op 4 / Seejungfraelein Op 15
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