HEINRICH VON HERZOGENBERG: Symphony No. 1 in C minor; Symphony No. 2 in B flat major – NDR Radiophilharmonie/ Frank Beermann – CPO

by | Apr 20, 2007 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

HEINRICH VON HERZOGENBERG: Symphony No. 1 in C minor; Symphony No. 2 in B flat major – NDR Radiophilharmonie/ Frank Beermann – CPO 777 122-2, 77:06 ****:

Although he was prolific composer, few have heard of Herzogenberg. He lived until 1900, was one of the founders of the Bach-Verein Orchestra in Leipzig and later was a professor of composition in Berlin. His primary influences were Brahms and Bruch.  Both of these symphonies sound to me like they could pass for Brahms’ Fifth and Sixth symphonies.

Herzogenberg had already written a symphony as a student, so the C minor was not his first, and demonstrates great compositional skills. It shares with Brahms’ First and Beethoven’s Fifth a gradual progressive during the work from darkness to light. One reviewer at its premiere called it a gigantic reminiscence of Johannes Brahms.

The Second Symphony has a more cheerful and relaxed air about it. An orchestral richness results from the composer’s highly-developed instrumentation.  There are distinctly individual aspects to the work, but it still remains under the influence of Brahms.  It moves toward an especially jubilant final movement.

– John Sunier

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