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Foerster: Symphonie Nr. 4, Meine Jugend, Festive Overture

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Foerster: Symphony No. 4 / Festival Overture / My Youth
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Hinweise und Aktionen


  • Orchester: Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Dirigent: Lance Friedel
  • Komponist: Joseph Bohuslav Foerster
  • Audio CD (27. Februar 2006)
  • SPARS-Code: DDD
  • Anzahl Disks/Tonträger: 1
  • Label: Naxos (Naxos Deutschland Musik & Video Vertriebs-)
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Es gibt noch keine Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.de
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Amazon.com: 3.5 von 5 Sternen 6 Rezensionen
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Disappointing renditions of works that deserve better 22. April 2014
Von Firebrand - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verifizierter Kauf
J.B. Foerster was a key member of the turn of the century Vienna music scene, a friend of Mahler, and a composer of some distinction. Foerster's late romantic sound was idiomatically Czech, with strong influences from Dvorak, Smetana, with some passing nods to Mahler (but far less intense), and Bruckner (to a minimal degree).

Unfortunately, the Foerster Fourth, which could be searing and passionate, is poorly represented here by Lance Friedel's weak, listless interpretation, and a dull, workmanlike performance from the Slovak Radio Symphony (which, as proven by other Naxos recordings, can be fine group under better leadership). The overtures fare a bit better, but the lack of energy and sameness is hard to overcome.

Instead, look for Hermann Baumer and the Osnabruck Symphony, Vaclav Smetacek with the Prague Symphony, or (if you don't mind dim sound) the 1948 recording by Rafael Kubelik with the Czech Philharmonic. These performances are not ideal wither, but they better than Friedel's. Sadly, the Foerster Fourth still awaits a great recording. In the meantime, these will have to suffice.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Very even-tempered, sometimes lethargic performances 29. April 2012
Von G.D. - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verifizierter Kauf
Josef Foerster composed quite a bit of music, and we have finally got a complete cycle of his symphonies from MDG. This (thus far) single release from Naxos will presumably give his music wider circulation. There are both advantages and drawbacks associated with that; although the music deserves to be heard I am less than sure these performances quite do Foerster complete justice. Stylistically Foerster's music is late romantic, perhaps a little generic in style, but it has a warmth and melodic richness that certainly makes up for it. His fourth symphony is among his most famous works, but the couplings here are, as far as I can see, not currently otherwise represented in the catalogue.

The symphony ("Easter Eve") is a very appealing work, with gorgeous textures, beautifully drawn lines and plenty of color. I have to admit that I do not know any alternative performances (there is at least one conducted by Kubelik and one under Smetacek that I have not heard), but even so the performance here by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra under Lance Friedel strikes me as a little too much on the even-tempered side. Yes, it is often lovely played (a few moments of roughness aside) and Friedel makes a convincing structure out of it, but it wouldn't have hurt with a little more energy or spirit. Nevertheless, this performance appears to be fairly recommendable.

The couplings are less lucky. Even without competition it is easy to hear that the Festive Ouverture should have been a lot faster (it lasts for 9'29; I would guess that the appropriate timing should have been quite a bit short of seven minutes). Completely devoid of joie de vivre, spirit and buoyancy, this mortally lethargic performance utterly eviscerates any chance this music - which admittedly sounds dangerously close to second-rate Strauss - ever had of making any impression. And it is a pity; the conclusion, in particular, sounds as if it could have been rather thrilling. I am less sure that Meine Jugend could have been saved so easily; the thematic material sound pretty weak and meandering, but again I suspect that the performances don't quite help.

In short then, this is a fine but rather laidback performance of the symphony, a decent performance of a less obviously rewarding tone poem and a complete ruining of the Festive Overture. At the price I suppose the disc as a whole is nevertheless enjoyable, though I suppose I would recommend newcomers to the composer to turn to Smetacek's coupling of the tone poem Cyrano de Bergerac and the Shakespeare Suite on Supraphon first. The Naxos sound is fine, by the way.
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Wonderful Music Poorly Served by This Performance 8. Mai 2006
Von J Scott Morrison - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Much as I love Foerster's Fourth Symphony this recording let me down, largely because it sounds like the Slovak Radio Symphony are sight-reading the work. Add to that the too-common out-of-tune brass and wind playing and the rather tubby sonics and you have a major disappointment. The symphony itself is a lovely thing, reminding me at times of Richard Strauss on a contented day. It sounds kin to Goldmark's Rustic Wedding Symphony as well. For a better performance of a Foerster work, take a listen to the release (on Naxos' sister label, Marco Polo) of his opera, 'Eva,' which I recently reviewed here.

The two smaller pieces, neither of which I'd heard before, are given so-so performances, but one can hear that they have charms of their own, particularly the fifteen minute 'Meine Jugend' ('My Youth').

I would recommend the recording by Smetacek and the Prague Symphony on Supraphon with its superior performance although it, too, has disappointing sound. This symphony deserves a modern recording with an orchestra of the caliber of the Vienna Philharmonic (and they've played it in concert, if I remember correctly) but I guess we'll have to wait for that.

Scott Morrison
9 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen New recording of a Czech specialty 20. September 2006
Von Larry VanDeSande - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Josef Bohuslav Foerster (1859-1951) fits in the history of Czech symphonic musicmaking somewhere after Dvorak and Smetana and before his compatriot Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) who eclipsed Foerster as the greatest Czech composer of their generation. Foerster was married to a soprano that was member of Mahler opera Company and, like many of his predecessors, left his homeland for life in Vienna and elsewhere.

The 4th Symphony, subtitled "Easter Eve" espousing the composer's religious beliefs on the death and resurrection of Christ, is considered Foerster's masterpeice. It is a dramatic symphony that reminds me of Suk without the complete mastery of the other composer or his range of emotions.

The symphony was premiered in Prague in November 1905. It is comprised of four movements:
1. Molto sostenuto, a dramatic presentation of Easter eve
2. Allegro decisio, a scherzo also called "A Child's Good Friday"
3. Andante sostenuto, a meditation called "The Charm of Solitude"
4. Lento lugubre - Allegro moderato, "The Victory of Good Friday"

The current recording is acceptable but hardly outstanding. It never pushes the music to the edge and the recording is not the best I've ever heard from Naxos. It is, however, an adequate introduction to music that is probably not well-known, or not known at all, the the average collector.

By my reckoning the greatest performance of this music comes in a 1948 Supraphon recording from the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Rafael Kubelik. While the sound is dated, with a restricted sound stage and fidelity, the musicmaking does far more than here to develop the religiousity, suavity and emotional appeal of the score, which is one of many that tries to portray the religious suffering and miracle of Easter.

The notes to the Kubelik issue -- last seen on CD as Supraphon SU 1912-2 001, still available in Europe -- devote more space to Czech music than this one. The sound is mono but OK. It is a studio, not concert, performance. Kubelik is widely accepted as an authoritative figure in Czech music. His recordings of the symphonies of Antonin Dvorak are still considered de rigeur in most quarters.

The Kubelik recording is not currently available in USA but may be available elsewhere. If you like the symphony and want to hear what it could become under an expert in Czech music, it may be worth your time and investment to seek it out. Otherwise, the Naxos issue provides an introduction to the symphony and a makeweight in modern DDD sound for not very much money.
9 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Another Fine Rarity Issued By Naxos 23. April 2006
Von Timothy Kearney - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The liner notes of this compilation refer to Josef Bohuslav Foerster as one of the twentieth century's best known Czech composers. Though comparisons can be made to his compositions and Mahler, a contemporary and friend, it's also easy to see the influence of compatriots Dvorak and Suk. The major work of this collection is Foerster's Fourth Symphony titled "Easter Eve." It's a beautifully luxurious work that could easily find a home in the symphonic repertoire of any major symphony orchestra. Lance Friedel seems comfortable with the music and the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra has a lush sound that serves the work well. This set also has piremiere recordings of the composer's "Festive Overture" and the tone Poem "Meine Jugend," a n work owing much to Dvorak and Suk.

Once again Naxos deserves to be commended. The pieces on this CD would all but be ignored by other labels since Foerster is not exactly a household name and the works are largely unfamiliar, yet Naxos has issued a fine recording and as usual, the price, as always is unbeatable.
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