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Wetz: Symphony, No. 2

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 22, 2000
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$17.82 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Only 4 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz
  • Conductor: Werner Andreas Albert
  • Composer: Richard Wetz
  • Audio CD (February 22, 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: CPO
  • ASIN: B00004HYO0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,667 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Aaron Z. Snyder on May 7, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Finnish composer Yrjö Kilpinen is supposed to have deemed this work a masterpiece, and then wondered why it was rarely performed. I wonder the same thing. Although I admire Wetz' 1st and 3rd Symphonies for their massive sonorities, which often are organlike and show the influence of Bruckner, I find this very late romantic music to be, at times, a bit self-indulgent and even a little embarrassing. Not so with #2! Despite long-lined musical themes and expansive paragraphs of musical thought, this is a rather concise work with a huge emotional impact. The three movements last about 43 minutes, but the listener is is left emotionally drained at the end. Movements 1 and 3 are in fairly strict sonata form, so that following them isn't difficult once one becomes familiar with the thematic materials. Movement 1 has some of the most achingly beautiful music I have ever encountered; at times one feels that Wetz has found the same brook which Beethoven immortalized in his Pastorale Symphony. Movement 2 provides a contrasting scene: one of loneliness and despair. There is really only one theme which inhabits the movement, despite all the commentary and contrast which surrounds it. This same theme, which speak of so much despair, is transformed in the third movement into one of hope; this theme becomes the second subject of the movement, while the first subject is a jaunty, yet nostalgic, tune, and serves not just as contrast to the more thoughtful second subject, but even provides a sense of the scherzo movement which is absent from this work. This symphony ends on a note of hope, with the first movement's brook-like first subject undulating below the massed orchestra.Read more ›
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Richard Wetz is surely among the last of the great German Romantic era composers. Born in 1875 and dead in 1935, Wetz's lifeline spanned the popularity of both Brahms and Bruckner, as well as the career of Mahler, and lasted into the heyday of Richard Strauss. For me, this composer is reminiscent of both Brahms and Bruckner in his Symphony No. 2 -- a true rarity! -- and also shows signs of the coming chromatics from Richard Strauss.

The Symphony No. 2 is typical Wetz, whose recorded output incudes three long-winded symphonies, a requiem, violin concerto and a few overtures. Working from themes reminiscent of early Bruckner, Wetz's Symphony 2 is a three-movement tapestry of varied Germanic themes and Brucknerian thematic development with some Brahmsian touches, especially in slow movements. Indeed, the brief central movement, which is less than 10 minutes in duration, provides a gentle respite from the lengthier outer movements. It all ends in a fiery and loud display of traditional German music from the late Romantic period.

Werner Andreas Albert and the Rheinland-Pfalz State Symphony seemingly have a lock on recording the Wetz symphonies, having produced CPO recordings of two of the three, with Roland Bader leading another regional orchestra in a CPO recording of the Symphony No. 1.

The Albert-led recording of Symphony No. 3 is similar in conception to the first two symphonies and is accompanied by a brief major key "Gesang des Lebens" Op. 39 (song of life), sung by an all male chorus. No text comes with it but the message is easily understood through the pastoral nature of the musicmaking.
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