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Spohr: Symphonies No 7 & 9 - Shelley, Orchestra Della Svizzera Italiana (2012)

Posted By: peotuvave
Spohr: Symphonies No 7 & 9 - Shelley, Orchestra Della Svizzera Italiana (2012)

Spohr: Symphonies No 7 & 9 - Shelley, Orchestra Della Svizzera Italiana (2012)
EAC Rip | Flac (Image + cue + log) | 1 CD | Full Scans | 267 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Hyperion | Catalog Number: 67939

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.

Composer: Louis Spohr
Conductor: Howard Shelley
Orchestra/Ensemble: Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana

Reviews: Both the Seventh and the Ninth are program symphonies from late in Spohr’s life. No. 7, written in 1841, is subtitled “The Earthly and Divine in Human Life,” with each of the three movements being prefaced by a poem characterizing the life stages: “The World of Childhood,” “The Age of Passion,” and “Final Victory of the Divine.” Musically, the contrast between the “earthly” and the “divine” is depicted by the use of two orchestras, the larger, tutti group representing the former, and a smaller group of 11 instruments (string quartet and wind quintet, plus a bass and a second horn) representing the latter. This makes for some problematic instrumental balances, and must have given the recording engineers fits; members of the small Orchestra 1 either don’t project over the larger Orchestra 2, or they seem artificially highlighted. It should be added that the piece is not a symphonie concertante , in that the writing and the forms are thoroughly symphonic, partaking of none of the drama or display of the concerto. Ultimately, the experiment—based on the model of Spohr’s own double quartets—is not fully successful, but it makes for some interesting listening.

Symphony No. 9, “The Seasons,” was written in 1850, when the composer was 66, and one can’t help thinking that Spohr had continued to write music after he had run out of things to say. His “Winter” pales in harshness in comparison with, say, the storm in Beethoven’s Sixth; “Spring” and “Summer” are pretty, in a bland sort of way; “Autumn” features the predictable hunting horns, and a drinking song to boot.

The fillers—the Introduzione is less than a minute long—are of no great consequence, although the Festmarsch , written for a royal wedding, is notable for its use of the Grossvatertanz or Grandfather Dance, familiar through its appearance in Schumann’s Carnaval and Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.

Listeners who have heard other issues in this series will find no surprises with this one: Shelley’s tempos are generally fleet, the playing of the Swiss orchestra is quite fine, and Hyperion’s recording (with the qualification noted above) is attractive if somewhat recessed. The notes, by Spohr authority Keith Warsop, are detailed and informative. For those new to Spohr’s symphonies, this is not the ideal place to start; for those who have purchased the other volumes in this series, it is a must. You know who you are.

Tracklisting:

1. Symphony no 9 in B minor, Op. 143 "Die Jahreszeiten" by Louis Spohr
Conductor: Howard Shelley
Orchestra/Ensemble: Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
Period: Romantic
Written: 1850; Kassel, Germany

2. Symphony no 7 in C major, Op. 121 "Irdisches und Göttliches im Menschenleben" by Louis Spohr
Conductor: Howard Shelley
Orchestra/Ensemble: Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
Period: Romantic
Written: 1841; Kassel, Germany

3. Introduzione in D major, WoO5 by Louis Spohr
Conductor: Howard Shelley
Orchestra/Ensemble: Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
Period: Romantic
Written: 1830

4. Festmarsch in D major, WoO3 by Louis Spohr
Conductor: Howard Shelley
Orchestra/Ensemble: Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
Period: Romantic
Written: 1825

Exact Audio Copy V1.0 beta 3 from 29. August 2011

EAC extraction logfile from 31. October 2012, 2:11

Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Howard Shelley / Spohr - Symphonies Nos 7, 9

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TOC of the extracted CD

Track | Start | Length | Start sector | End sector
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––-
1 | 0:00.00 | 9:29.43 | 0 | 42717
2 | 9:29.43 | 0:47.33 | 42718 | 46275
3 | 10:17.01 | 6:23.59 | 46276 | 75059
4 | 16:40.60 | 6:48.03 | 75060 | 105662
5 | 23:28.63 | 0:37.08 | 105663 | 108445
6 | 24:05.71 | 6:15.41 | 108446 | 136611
7 | 30:21.37 | 10:41.42 | 136612 | 184728
8 | 41:03.04 | 10:42.54 | 184729 | 232932
9 | 51:45.58 | 11:01.54 | 232933 | 282561
10 | 62:47.37 | 0:49.69 | 282562 | 286305
11 | 63:37.31 | 5:28.24 | 286306 | 310929


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