GERHARD FROMMEL (1906-1984): Symphony No. 1 in E, Op. 13, Sinfonisches Vorspiel, Op. 23.
Catalogue Number: 05T010
Description: Likely an opportunist, Frommel joined the Nazi party soon after Hitler came to power in 1933 because he also was formally pilloried as a “Theorist of Atonal Music” at the infamous 1938 Degenerate Art exhibition for writing approvingly of people like Bartók, Stravinsky and Günter Raphael. But Frommel’s music isn’t atonal. He was a master pupil of Pfitzner and this symphony (1938) was premiered by the Berlin Philharmonic under Furtwängler in late 1942. Lasting 44 minutes here, its first movement is so Brucknerian as to raise an eyebrow but the scherzo, like a cartoonishly ghostly nightmare dance, is rather original and the finale opens with chorale elements before striding on purposefully complete eith a Regerian fugue. The 15-minute Symphonic Prelude of 1943 is clearly concerned with tragedy and, late in life, Frommels wrote that it was occasioned by the “shock and anxiety” resulting from the German catastrophe at Stalingrad. Jena Philharmonic Orchestra; Jürgen Bruns.