JOSEF BOHUSLAV FOERSTER (1859-1951): Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Symphony No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 9, Symphony No. 2 in F, Op. 29.
Catalogue Number: 04J001
Reference: 632 1491-2
Description: At last, the other four Foerster symphonies (and who knows what else, given the title of the series). Both of these symphonies deal with and were inspired by death, pain and suffering. No. 1 (1887) has the death of Foerster’s mother and a long illness of his own. The composer plainly doesn’t follow “textbook composition techniques” as he wends his way through quite original thematic and harmonic ideas which are full of emotion and melody with a Slavonic Dance-like scherzo and the expected uplifting finale. No. 2 (1893) is a big 44-minute work dedicated to Foerster’s sister who died in childbirth. Death and redemption form two thematic poles in this work, the dramatic concept being determinedly non-linear. The funeral march slow movement is based on a theme reminiscent of the major theme of Franck’s symphony and the finale has a striking climax where tortured emotion suddenly resolves into serene, angelic music. One thinks automatically of such in memoriam symphonies as Suk’s Asrael and of the sound quality of, say, Franz Schmidt’s symphonies, which, after all, come from the same geographical and chronological place. Osnabrück Symphony Orchestra; Hermann Bäumer.