Büttner Symphonic Works

Evidence of a fine symphonist in the late-Romantic German tradition

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Paul Büttner

Genre:

Orchestral

Label: Sterling

Media Format: CD or Download

Media Runtime: 56

Mastering:

Stereo
DDD

Catalogue Number: CDS10482

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Heroic Overture Paul Büttner, Composer
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Hans-Peter Frank, Conductor
Paul Büttner, Composer
Symphony No 4 Paul Büttner, Composer
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Gerhard Pflüger, Conductor
Paul Büttner, Composer
Paul Büttner (1870-1943) is a largely forgotten figure now, earning only token entries even from German music dictionaries. In the helpful insert booklet to this record, his fellow Dresdener Hans John gives a sympathetic account of an evidently unsympathetic though in many ways admirable man who had to endure much at the hands of the Nazis for his socialist activities. His Jewish wife had to endure worse, and included here is the facsimile of an official letter detailing the humiliations about to be enjoined upon her – a week after his death.

Another Dresden critic, Karl Laux, agrees with Professor John in regarding Büttner’s four symphonies as his most important music. If the Heroic Overture reflects Strauss’s more assertive manner, the Symphony here is clearly in the tradition of Brahms and Bruckner. Büttner was also a master of orchestration, as is evident above all in the richly melodic Andante. His care for craftsmanship, especially for counterpoint, shows here as well as in the more Brucknerian Scherzo. A place is also found in the music for an important chorale-like theme, another acknowledgement of one of the longest of all German musical traditions. This is a strong work, and one can see why Büttner’s music was once so much admired: the third of his symphonies was first performed by Nikisch, and other major conductors, including Fritz Reiner and Fritz Busch, took his work up, as did Joseph Keilberth and Kurt Masur after 1945. But this is still a rarity, and one that could reward inquisitive collectors with a loyalty to the German symphonic tradition.

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