CASPAR DIETHELM (1926-1997): Symphonies No. 1, Op. 35, No. 3, Op. 76, No. 4, Op. 100 “Homage to Joseph Haydn” and No. 5, Op. 180 “Mandala”, Symphonic Suite for Large Orchestra, Op. 200 “Saturnaliaˆ”, Symphonic Prologue for Orchestra, Op. 125.

Catalogue Number: 08U047

Label: Guild

Reference: GM3CD7808

Format: CD

Price: $33.98

Description: NOTE: Only 10 of these came into the country, whether through Naxos of America’s agency or that of Guild itself and I only got 7 of them. So get in line for back-orders as I ordered 25 and Naxos has re-ordered appropriately. However, since it took Guild five months to get those 10 pieces over here (the title appeared in a February Naxos release book), who know how long it will take for them to come in. It will be worth it however. These are large-scale works in an approchable idiom where influences of 20th century composers may be audible (Sibelius, Hindemith, Nielsen, Bartók, Frank Martin) but have been assimilated into a personal language. Diethelm began his career using serial techniques but by the time he wrote his first symphony (1962-64) he was already moving away from it, telling us “It proved far too narrow for the melodies I wanted to create, especially using folkloric themes which became increasingly important to me.” So, while these are not “neo-Romantic” works, they are definitely “post-serial”. A powerful rhythmic momentum is often present and the big, 42-minute Saturnalia has an opulence of texture too while, in the Third and Fourth symphonies, there is a relaxed, good-natured affability in scores which use a Classical-sized orchestra and which suggest the spirit of a 20th-century Haydn. Plenty to enjoy and worth waiting for! 3 CDs. Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Rainer Held.

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