HEINRICH HOFMANN (1842-1902): Symphony in E Flat "Frithjof", Op. 22, Ungarische Suite mit Benutzung ungarischer Nationalmelodien, Op. 16, Eine Schauspiels-Ouvertüre, Op. 28.
Catalogue Number: 01O001
Reference: CDS 1097-2
Description: The bulk of Hofmann's music was written for the voice - cantatas, five operas, choruses and lieder - leaving only a handful of symphonic and a handful of chamber/instrumental pieces. So you're getting the cream of the orchestral crop here with his only symphony (1874), based on a Norse saga and programmatic from beginning to end although only the second ("Ingeborg's Lament") and finale ("Frithjof's Return") bear titles. Lovers parted by the man's exile after loss of a battle, the girl's lament and his eventual return and triumph offers Hofmann ample opportunity to paint episodes from the tale and to insert a scherzo which has nothing to do with the story (which didn't provide anything scherzo-ish enough, I guess) but which depicts Elves and Frost Giants). The idiom, as in the overture from the following year, is determinedly Mendelssohn/Schumann with with use of folk music and rare Wagnerian harmonies. Every motif Hofmann uses is instantly hummable (part of the reason many of his contemporaries judged him to be only good enough to appeal to popular taste). The "Hungarian Suite" of 1873 was dedicated to Brahms and is Hofmann's version of the then-popular "National Orchestral Dances" genre. Altenburg-Gera Philharmonic Orchestra; Eric Solén.