From my collection.
First listen: 29-10-2010.
Second listen: 19-5-2015.
Third listen: 9-5-2017.
Label: Marco Polo.
Recording dates: April 1996.
Recording venue: Magdalenzaal, Brussels.
Recording engineer: Jo Tavernier.
Running time: 74:24.
Relevance to me: Essential listening stuff.
Composers and Works:
Jef van Hoof. (1886-1959)
Symphony No. 2 in A flat major.
Lodewijk Mortelmans. (1868-1952)
The Myth of Spring, Symphonic Poem.
Peter Benoit. (1834-1901)
In the Fields, Song for Oboe and String Orchestra.
Arthur Meulemans. (1884-1966)
Symphony No. 7 "Swan Fen" A Heathland Symphony.
Works performed by:
VRT PO, Silveer Van den Broeck.
Van Hoof's Symphony fits perfectly in the musical tradition of its time, Nothing shocking is happening, but you get a nicely constructed work, with some beautiful melodies. Not a slight work, but one that has quality in its middle name. The first movement has a structure that flows with ease and is well balanced, the Scherzo is a joyous affair and very strong in its compositional structure. This movement tickles all my senses. The third movement is supposed to be grave, so the booklet says but there is no bitterness at all, although there is an unsuccessful attempt at some furious emotion which is halted after a few measures. The fourth movement has a happy demeanor not unlike the second movement. I liked this work more as I expected.
Mortelmans "The Myth of the Spring" is one of the better compositions by his hands. Of course the influence of Wagner is evident. The scoring is phenomenal especially the Strings and Brass.
Peter Benoit's "In the Fields" is a miniature masterwork of barely 2 minutes. Its a corker as ever there was one. The scoring brings a smile on my face, especially when the playful Oboe makes his entrance.
Arthur Meulemans's Seventh Symphony is by far the weightiest composition on this disc, and as a composition has aspirations that puts it on a different footing as the other composers on this disc.
He writes in a very descriptive way, the images come readily alive in his music. The colours and the imagery are of a dynamic quality, He is a composer that outshines many composers of his own soil, and on the evidence of this Symphony I would say he belongs to be known.
The performances are very good, lively and alert, descriptive and radiant. It has many particular strengths, and there is a natural expressive exuberance.
The recording is detailed, and is sonically complementary to the music.
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