Prices shown exclude VAT. (UK tax is not payable for deliveries to United States.)
See Terms & Conditions for p&p rates.
Joseph Marx - Orchestral Songs and Choral Works
The Austrian composer Joseph Marx was for much of his long career a musical authority of world renown. Within his large output, his songs were amongst his greatest musical achievements, unifying romanticism, impressionism and expressionism with revolutionary results. Many thought him the rightful successor to Hugo Wolf and yet today the name and music of Joseph Marx have fallen into obscurity.
The ‘Marx style’ is unmistakable. It is characterised by a highly personal compositional technique displaying a polyphonic harmony of full sonority, allied to masterly contrapuntal skills, and frequent key changes which occur apparently at random but are in fact distributed with utter logic. The music strikes the listener as timeless, refreshingly modern and, above all, surprising, able to exploit tonal means of expression to the full and raise the spirits of every true lover of melody.
Chandos’ Record of the Month sees Jirí Belohlávek conduct the BBC Symphony Orchestra in the long overdue premiere of four choral works, along with the first complete recording of Marx’s orchestral songs for soprano, performed by Christine Brewer.
Three works are of particular note. Herbstchor an Pan, a single-movement cantata written in 1911, lasts very nearly twenty minutes and was Marx’s first, and for many years only, orchestral composition. It has inexplicably fallen into oblivion in the past five decades. However, it has turned out to be one of the masterpieces of its entire era. Ein Neujahrshymnus (A Hymn for the New Year) is richly orchestrated and demonstrates the profound romantic vein of Joseph Marx; it is here performed for the first time in its orchestral version. This disc represents not only the first recording of Berghymne but also its world premiere performance.
We are indebted to the Marx Society for their efforts to promote this composer, and allowing the wider public to hear the outstanding quality of his works. The greatness of the music is indisputable and this recording will make for an important addition to the classical music catalogue.
“The luxuriantly recorded Chandos disc is particularly welcome for featuring premiere recordings of four relatively early choral pieces including the lavishly scored Herbstchor an Pan… Performed here with considerable emotional conviction by Jirí Belohlávek and the massed forces of the Trinity Boys Choir and the BBC Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, it is by far the most striking of these works... Those drawn to the creamy sonorities of a soprano voice soaring above a lush orchestral fabric will find much to savour in Christine Brewer's warm and ecstatic renditions of 'Barkarole', 'Selige Nacht' and 'Sommerlied'...” BBC Music Magazine, February 2009 ****
“Post-Wagnerian richness and lush harmony marks Marx's orchestral songs. Christine Brewer has the floating purity of voice to soar easily over Marx's beautifully judged textures in for instance "Selige Nacht" and "Maienblüten", both rapt in manner and unashamedly reflective, the latter suggesting the atmosphere of Strauss's Four Last Songs.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2009
“The most substantial work in this selection of Joseph Marx's orchestral songs and choral pieces is the Herbstchor an Pan ('Autumn Hymn to Pan'), his first orchestral work (1911) but one in which his easy mastery of a rich instrumental palette is already evident. His idiom was formed early and changed little: indeed, he had little sympathy with change, and notoriously failed to mention Schoenberg, Berg or even Hindemith when he brought out Weltsprache Musik, a book of aesthetics and philosophy, in the last year of his life, 1964.
It should be no surprise, then, to find that here is a rich, post-Wagnerian manner, luscious in harmony and sensuous in orchestration. Christine Brewer has the floating purity of voice to soar easily over Marx's beautifully judged textures in, for instance Selige Nacht and Maienblüten, both rapt in manner and unashamedly reflective, the latter suggesting the atmosphere of Strauss's Four Last Songs. Some similarity betwen Marx and Delius suggests that they had both moved away from Wagnerian harmony in comparable directions, influenced by a pantheistic response to nature: lovers of Delius's SeaDrift may appreciate the harmonic flavour and modulatory side-slips of the Herbstchor an Pan. It is in this vein that Marx seems at his most effective; the more exuberant songs sound rather laboured and their jollity contrived. Belohlávek draws a suitably rich manner from the orchestra and gives Brewer loyal support with textures that are full but always lucid, and served well by the recording.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
(also available to download from $10.50)
In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.
Der Ton: Songs by Joseph Marx
Matilda Paulsson (mezzo), Bengt-Åke Lundin (piano)
Marx’s gifts were essentially lyrical. With few exceptions, his songs eschew drama and violent emotion. In the settings from the Italienisches Liederbuch Marx shows himself master of the delicate cameo, albeit without Wolf ’s wit and pungency. Elsewhere expressions of rapture, nature mysticism and nostalgic yearning predominate, in settings of poets ranging from Romantics such as Novalis and Mörike to contemporary authors including Rilke, Dehmel and Hesse.
Of the generation of Schoenberg, Webern and Berg, Marx was hostile to their musical radicalism, proclaiming to the end his belief in the power of tonality to express the whole gamut of human emotion. Like his older contemporary Richard Strauss, he remained au fond a late-Romantic (he liked to dub himself ‘a Romantic realist’) in a fractured, modernist age.
During the years 1908–12 Marx composed around 120 songs, some of which were published in the collections Italienische Lieder I–II (1912) and Lieder und Gesänge I–III (1910–12). Nowadays these songs are regarded as the finest works that he produced.
Usually despatched in 8 - 10 working days.