PAUL GRAENER (1872-1944): Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Sinfonia breve, Op. 96, Variationen über ein russisches Volkslied, Op. 55, Musik am Abend, Op. 44, Comedietta, Op. 82.
Catalogue Number: 05N002
Reference: 777 447-2
Description: Yes, “Volume One”, so we’re actually going to get a significant slice of this unjustly forgotten German composer’s œuvre. We’ve covered his Nazi party membership and continued friendships with his Jewish publishers all the way through the war already in other releases but in this one, we find out that while he was President of the Reichsmusikkammer (before Richard Strauss), he was also, unbeknownst to his masters, a British subject! Comedietta (1928; premiered in New York by Erich Kleiber) is a title seemingly inspired by Graener’s eleven years in England (1898-1909) working as conductor and incidental music composer at the Haymarket Theatre. It starts out melancholy but evolves into an early example of what would become that English genre of “The Comedy Overture”. The big, 24-minute Variations of 1917 are on the famous Volga Boatmen song and allow the composer to lay out his late Romantic orchestration credentials. The gorgeous, low-key, almost evanescent Musik am Abend (sometime before 1913) is a three-movement setting of pastoral charm inspired by a Hoffmannsthal poem. The Sinfonia comes from 1932 - not too breve at almost 18 minutes - and is a conservative and backward-looking exercise which, even though reactionary forces in Germany were demanding such things of their composers already, certainly came from Graener’s own conservative and backward-looking heart. North German Radio Philharmonic Hannover; Werner Andreas Albert.