Reznicek: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5

Reznicek: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5

Berner Symphonieorchester

Album review

“Best-known for the popular overture to his opera Donna Diana, which was frequently recorded and programmed on light music concerts of the 1950s, Emil Nikolaus von Reznicek is nonetheless an almost totally neglected composer whose rich, post-Romantic music fell out of fashion by the mid-twentieth century and has stayed virtually unknown until the twenty first. Thanks, though, to efforts by CPO to record not only Donna Diana complete, but several of Reznicek's orchestral works as well, it is possible to appreciate his agreeable music for its abundant tunes, lavish orchestration, and lively color, if not for anything more profound or groundbreaking. The jolly Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, "Ironic," and the rhythmically buoyant and exotically flavored Symphony No. 5, "Dance Symphony," will not stand with the great symphonies of the period, and may seem like a waste of time to serious students of the genre. But there are sure to be enough listeners who will enjoy these engaging and beguiling works, despite Reznicek's relaxed, even carefree, approach to form and lack of seriousness, innovation, and originality. The Berner Symphonie-Orchester, conducted by Frank Beermann, is warm and ingratiating in both works, though its performance of the "Dance Symphony" feels slack and a little less tightly practiced than its energetic run-through of the Symphony No. 2, which is at least cogent, compact, and easier to accept as symphonic in argumentation. CPO's sound is, as usual, superb.”

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Record label



    11 October 2005