Scharwenka Frülingswogen; Arkadische Suite; Liebesnacht

Splendid, enjoyable music, even if it belongs in the second division

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: (Ludwig) Philipp Scharwenka

Genre:

Orchestral

Label: Sterling

Media Format: CD or Download

Media Runtime: 74

Mastering:

Stereo
DDD

Catalogue Number: CDS1071-2

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Frühlingswogen (Ludwig) Philipp Scharwenka, Composer
(Ludwig) Philipp Scharwenka, Composer
Christopher Fifield, Conductor
Gävle Symphony Orchestra
Arkadische Suite (Ludwig) Philipp Scharwenka, Composer
(Ludwig) Philipp Scharwenka, Composer
Christopher Fifield, Conductor
Gävle Symphony Orchestra
Liebesnacht (Ludwig) Philipp Scharwenka, Composer
(Ludwig) Philipp Scharwenka, Composer
Christopher Fifield, Conductor
Gävle Symphony Orchestra
Philipp Scharwenka (1847-1917), like his better-known younger brother Xaver (1850-1924), belongs to that group of second-division German composers such as Raff and Reinecke who wrote much beautiful, well crafted and often inspired music which has been completely ignored in favour of that by men of greater genius. This disc is a valuable illustration of the huge wealth of fine music from the latter part of the 19th century that never, or very rarely, gets an outing.

Scharwenka’s Frühlingswogen (23'50") is a tone-poem based on Turgenev’s 1871 novella Spring Torrents (as it is usually rendered in English). If his harmonic language is in the thrall of Wagner and Grieg, Scharwenka’s music is none the worse for it and we can admire in their own rights his sure-footed control of orchestral colours and a far from negligible lyrical gift. These qualities are equally apparent in the four-movement Arcadia Suite (30'47") which, as Christopher Fifield observes in the booklet, though it “has some rather ordinary passages”, is redeemed by the magical third movement and the playing of clarinettist Erik Larson. Wagner’s influence is heard in the references to Die Meistersinger in the finale while the orchestral fantasy Liebesnacht (19'15") takes its inspiration from Tristan und Isolde (think Liebestod and also Siegfried Idyll).

The whole disc – music, performances, richly resonant recording, presentation – is warmly recommended, one I have now listened to several times with increasing pleasure. Fifield (who has given us superb biographies of Max Bruch and Hans Richter) again proves a notable champion of unjustly neglected corners of the repertoire.

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