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We talk of the nine symphonies of Beethoven and Bruckner but what about the ten of Spohr? Howard Shelley and the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana conclude their survey of his symphonies with two that push the boundaries of the genre itself. Both Nos 7 and 9 are programmatic works, something that Spohr along with Berlioz did much to champion. In the Seventh, titled ‘The earthly and divine in human life’ and inspired by a holiday in Switzerland, he uses not one but two orchestras to great colouristic effect. His Ninth explores that perennial favourite theme of composers from Vivaldi to Glazunov, the Seasons (though Spohr starts with winter rather than spring). As if that were not enough, Howard Shelley also offers the premiere recordings of a brief, powerful Introduzione and a triumphant, at times almost Rossini-ish, Festmarsch.
Spohr: Symphony No. 9 In B Minor, Op. 143, "The Seasons"
Part 1 - 1 Winter: Allegro Maestoso
Part 1 - 2 Transition To Spring: L'Istesso Tempo
Part 1 - 3 Spring: Moderato; Presto; Moderato
Part 2 - 1 Summer: Largo
Part 2 - 2 Introduction To Autumn: Allegro Vivace
Part 2 - 3 Autumn: L'Istesso Tempo
Spohr: Symphony No. 7 In C, Op. 121
1. The World Of Childhood: Adagio; Allegretto
2. The Age Of Passion: Larghetto; Allegro Moderato
3. Final Victory Of The Divine: Presto; Adagio
Spohr: Introduzione In D, WoO 5
Introduzione In D, WoO 5
Spohr: Festmarsch In D, WoO 3
Festmarsch In D, WoO 3
1st March 2012
“The music itself is pleasant enough, if unremarkable, sometimes echoing Beethoven (the Pastoral Symphony especially in the Ninth), and showing affinities with Mendelssohn and Schumann elsewhere; the performances are first rate, and the solo horn playing is glorious.”
“[Shelley] is at his most sympathetic in Autumn, at home in its atmosphere of hunting and social camaraderie”
“The performances, like the pieces themselves, are a shade laid-back, but their lack of urgency never seriously detracts from the attractive qualities of this music.”
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