Sunday, November 27, 2016

Woyrsch, Felix. (1860-1944) Orchestral Works.

From my collection.
Bought February 2014.
Label CPO.
First listen: 21-2-2014.
Second listen: 26-11-2016.
Recording dates: December 2011.
Recording venue: Grosser Sendesaal, Hannover, Germany.
Recording engineer: Martin Lohmann.
Running time: 61:33.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works.
Hamlet Overture, opus 56, to Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Symphony No. 2, opus 60 in C major.

Performers.
Oldenburgisches Staatsorchester. Thomas Dorsch.

And yet another composer that has gone unnoticed, and is totally erased from the memory of the musical world at large. Unknown and unloved, the worst fate any composer can meet. Sometimes that happens already when still living. That was his fate. He writes in the classical romantic manner, as if  directly descended from the likes of Beethoven, Brahms and Bruckner. A man that staunchly follows the tradition and proudly so. Listen to the quality of his compositions its hard to understand why the music industry, broadcasters and media totally ignored him, as if he was a musical dinosaurus. He faced total oblivion, yes this cruel the world can be. And just because the new generation were so fixed on musical innovation, that they fail to see the beauty around them. Woyrsch  came from an ancient noble family from Southern Bohemia that had been resident in Troppau from about 1500. He was a self taught composer, primarily because he was dissatisfied with the teachers he could get. He jokingly remarked that he studied counterpoint with the likes of Palestrina, Gabrieli, Lotti, Lasso, Sweelinck, Schutz, Hassler, and many more. Not a bad score in that time. But he also took all he could from Bach. And I could go on, he just read a lot of scores to understand the technique of composing.  He has known his moments, being a short time named a leading German composer, he became that overnight when performing his Passion Oratorio, opus 45.  He wrote 6 Symphonies, five SQ and a lot of chamber music. In his symphonies he had to fight against a legacy of well written works by others, and this was by no means an easy thing to do.  To write then Symphonies that are wholly your own, and unique, is almost an impossible task for any composer.  Both the works on this CD were enthusiastically received, and applauded. You have to think, Brahms foremost, Mahler as a good second, Schumann for the lyrical part, and also a dash of Bruckner. This is all put together in such a way that we are not forced to rewrite the music history, but his music is certainly an artistic achievement in their own right, and I am persuaded that his works successfully prolong the tradition of Johannes Brahms and Anton Bruckner. The compositional level is high and is certainly enriched with personal and accessible powers of expression. Its simply sweet and melodious music, that will enrich your musical collection. The recording is almost the best that is possible. This orchestra and conductor believe emphatically in this music, this you will most certainly hear.



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