NATANAEL BERG (1879-1957): Symphonic Works, Vol. 1 - Symphony No. 1 "Alles endet was entstehet", Symphony No. 2 "The Four Seasons".

Catalogue Number: 04K001

Label: CPO

Reference: 777 324

Format: CD

Price: $15.98

Description: The start of a series of symphonic works by the only composer we can think of who was a professional veterinarian (he also took care of the King of Sweden's horses). No. 1 dates from 1912 and is a full-scale symphony in four movements and 39 minutes although its programmatic origins suggest a tone-poem as well. The blossoming of love and the years between early adulthood and maturity pass by in the first three movements, chock full of melodic charm (Berg seems to have been a natural creator of memorable melodies), and the relaxation of full maturity is proceeding along in sunny fashion in the fourth until (remember what happened in 1912?) the Titanic strikes the iceberg with a sudden, neck-snapping dissonant crash. The rest of the movement grinds into a funeral march before building to a epilogue of redemption. The Second (1916) is called a "symphonic poem" by the composer himself and runs through the four seasons without a break in 22 minutes (beginning with Spring). Much pictorialism including a very nice storm in Autumn and some freezing bells and high percussion in Winter - you might think this a film score for a stylized depiction (animation?) of the passing of a year. Odd-sounding though this description may be, the music is well worth hearing and, as said above, full of attractive melodies. Since the tag is "symphonic works" and there are only five symphonies, it's interesting to contemplate what else this unusual vet/musician has produced. German State Philharmonic Rheinland-Pfalz; Ari Rasilainen.


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