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Weingartner: Symphony No.1 Hybrid SACD - DSD

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, September 21, 2004
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$17.47 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews


1. Symphony No. 1 in G major, Op. 23: Allegro moderato grazioso
2. Symphony No. 1 in G major, Op. 23: Allegretto alla Marcia
3. Symphony No. 1 in G major, Op. 23: Vivace scherzoso
4. Symphony No. 1 in G major, Op. 23: Allegro vivo

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Sinfonieorchester Basel
  • Conductor: Marko Letonja
  • Composer: Felix Weingartner
  • Audio CD (September 21, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: CPO
  • ASIN: B0002ONAHE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #387,217 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 18, 2004
Felix Weingartner (1863-1942) was, of course, primarily known as a masterful conductor who, among other things, was the first to record all of Beethoven's symphonies (and whose 1936 'Eroica' is certainly among the best ever made of that symphony). What most people don't know is that he was also a wonderful composer who, like many another conductor, really tended to think of himself primarily in that role; history, unfortunately, has thought otherwise. But here we have what purports to be the first issue in a series of recordings of his entire symphonic oeuvre by Marko Letonja conducting the Basel Symphony Orchestra on the cpo label. I say huzzah that! Although I'd never heard of Maestro Letonja -- he's a Slovenian who appears to be in his early forties and who studied under the still-underrated Otmar Suitner in Vienna -- he clearly is a marvelous conductor and his Basel orchestra, formed from the merger of two Basel orchestras in 1997-1998 and whose first recording this appears to be, is nothing short of outstanding.

Weingartner referred to his First and Second Symphonies as the 'symphonies of his youth.' That is as may be, but this First Symphony is one of the most immediately attractive things I've heard in a while. It was written in 1898, when Weingartner was 35, and is in a mélange of earlier German Romantic styles. There is no mistaking that Weingartner was master of the symphonic form. And even more important, to me at least, is that he has that rare ability come up with immediately attractive and memorable tunes . All the craft in the world won't help if a composer can't write melodies that people can hang onto in their mind's ear and that they want to hear again. Weingartner has this in spades.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By E. Thomas Dowd on August 2, 2005
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With few exceptions (Mahler comes to mind), great conductors have not typically been great, or even good, composers. Likewise, great composers are not necessarily great, or even good, conductors; Schumann and Brahms come to mind. Apparently the musical skills that enable success in one venue do not necessarily translate easily to the other.

Weiengartner, however, may be something of an exception. He certainly was a great conductor. And, if these works are any indication, he is at least a good composer. While stylistically he is solidly in the 19th century central European tradition, his music is not immediately derivative of more famous composers from that era. More importantly, it is interesting music that has memorable phrases and seems to go somewhere, which is critical for ordinary listeners who are not well-versed in the technical nicities of symphonic construction and orchestration. Contrast Weingartner with Furtwaengler; the latter's music follows all the rules but is a crashing bore nonetheless.

I commend CPO for releasing what looks like the complete symphonic works of Weingartner. For some interesting and off-beat repertoire, I'd suggest you explore these disks. I intend to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G.D. VINE VOICE on June 17, 2011
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This disc inaugurates another invaluable series from CPO (could we hope for an exploration of, say, Roderich Mojsisovics or Heinrich Zöllner next?) Felix Weingartner is of course primarily known as one of the greatest conductors of all time, and while his compositional language is - as expected - rather conservative and the music is excellently scored, the works on this disc reveal him to be a composer of some substance. Neither work here is a masterpiece, and the ideas are perhaps not the most memorable ones, but I doubt that any lover of late romantic, texturally replete and dramatic orchestral music will be disappointed.

The King Lear overture sounds like a slightly updated Liszt tone poem. At 22 minutes it is too long for its material but it is certainly enjoyable enough to sustain a couple of listenings. It is, however, the symphony that must count as the main attraction. Weingartner's first symphony is a surprisingly fresh and light-hearted work, generally pastoral in character but flexing some muscles and containing several rather good tunes. It sticks obediently to conventional formal schemes and doesn't in any way seek out any novel forms of expression, but it is a quite engaging work and of course brilliantly scored.

It receives an excellent performance, full of spirit, flair and power. Marko Letonja, whom I don't think I have encountered before, drives the impressive Basel forces with obvious sympathy with and understanding of the music - in particular in the symphony (the overture might be just a tad hesitative). The sound is very ambient but quite excellent in ordinary stereo (I haven't heard it on a multichannel system). In short, this is a very enjoyable release recommended to adventurous fans of late romanticism - although if you wish to sample the series I will probably recommend starting with the disc containing the second symphony.
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Well, Mr Morrison has said it all and I mostly agree; the marking time in Lear and the very busy finale of the symphony are two points that stretched my loyalty somewhat (over the past few days I listened to four Weingartner discs a couple of times each). Although there are some very attractive bits and the scoring is very well done, the real spark of imagination and inventiveness (e.g. the writing for percussion, contrabassoon or harp) that sets apart his second symphony, the Gefilde der Seligen and The Tempest Overture (whose lovely second theme foreshadows Katchaturian's famous Spartacus melody) is somehow missing, which is why I'll settle for four stars (three and a half would be more accurate). Letonja and the Baslers certainly make excellent ambassadors for Weingartner's music and the wonderful recording quality also does its best to give a new lease of life to this forgotten composer. But I'm afraid that on the strength of this particular disc Weingartner will not be able to escape the obscurity he has so long dwindled in.
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