Friday, March 24, 2017

Holbrooke, Josef. (1878-1958) Symphonic Poems. Top recommendation.

From my collection.
Bought in 2011.
First listen: 1-4-2011.
Second listen: 24-3-2017.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: August 2008.
Recording venue: Konzerthalle "C.P.E. Bach, Frankfurt/Oder, Germany.
Recording engineer: Matthias Schurz.
Running time: 56:26.
Classical relevance to me: Absolutely essential.

Works performed:
Amontillado, Dramatic overture, opus 123.
The Viking, Poem No. 2 for orchestra, opus 32.
Three blind mice, Symphonic variations on an old English air, opus 37, No. 1.
Ulalume, Poem No. 3 for orchestra, opus 35.

Performed by:
Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester, Frankfurt, Howard Griffiths.

Did you ever had the urge to applaud ferociously after listening to a CD? No? Well today this happened to me, and for the fun of it I shouted loudly Bravo!
Josef Holbrooke is an unknown composer to most of us. Even I did not hear of him. By chance I found a CD with his works on CPO, but after listening once it gathered dust, as so many of my huge piles of CD'S. I am going through these piles to single out the ones that I already played more as once, and put them in the listening queue, for the last time. Holbrooke however had just one play, but I decided to make this the last CD of today. I can tell you that I fell from amazement into admiration, and felt like being on an adventurous expedition. 
This man writes music that captures your imagination in one sweep of a few notes. He is so deliciously different from any English composer I know, that it is utterly refreshing to dip my senses into what Holbrooke has to offer, and that is much. His writing style is unique, for I could not find comparisons in other composers from his time. His writing for Brass is amazing, his awareness in applying dynamics is devastatingly beautiful, and the way he is putting everything together utterly unique!
Never mind which piece you take first, it all bears the same stamp. Surprise after surprise, harmonies beyond believe, and melodies that will haunt you through the day and weeks to come.
His is a tonal world, with some appropriate modernness, but always in perfect synch.  I will forthwith try to find more recordings of his work, and am grateful for any pointer towards them.
You get State of the Art sound with capital letters! This orchestra is fully up to the task, and Griffiths is enjoying himself immensely.
Recommended.
You can find through Wikipedia all the info you need about this composer and his works.
For me to say, go get this CD.


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