Thursday, February 9, 2017

Graener, Paul. (1872-1944) Orchestral Works, Volume I.

From my collection.
Bought in January 2014.
Label: CPO.
First listen: 27-1-2014.
Second listen: 9-2-2017.
Recording dates: January 2009.
Recording venue: Grosser Sendesaal, NDR Hannover, Germany.
Recording engineer: Martin Lohmann.
Running time: 66:29.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works on this CD.


1) Comedietta, opus 82.

2) Variationen über ein Russisches Volkslied, opus 55.
3) Musik am Abend, opus 44.
4) Sinfonia breve, opus 96.

Performers.

NDR Radiophilharmonie, Hannover, Werner Andreas Albert.

Paul Graener is a composer largely forgotten, not because his works are bad, but because of his political choices during WW II, even though he distanced himself from the regime. He had a British passport, of which the Germans had no knowledge. The fact that he helped and supported many Jews to survive was not acknowledged afterwards, they only saw his participation in the regime as a cultural music attache. And thus he was shunned by society. I am not going to say whether that was right or wrong, but his music should not suffer this neglect. 

His music was well received internationally, and is very worthwhile to listen to. In fact I would say that, were there not his unfortunate choices in life, he might have been a tower in musical history, for his works certainly are of a very high level. So give him a chance, his music is worth the time you spend with it. There was not a moment that my attention wavered from what I heard, on the contrary I found a composer that gave me a great amount of joy, and I am happy CPO decided to record his orchestral work, already in the second volume, They also released a disc with chamber music too. 
The music is tonal, and late romantic in tone, and has a unique musical voice, which I did not encounter before. The recording is State of the art, played by a fine orchestra. they clearly enjoyed the music under the guidance by a very good conductor.
Recommended.



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