Author Topic: The music of Emil von Reznicek  (Read 6528 times)

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Offline Sydney Grew

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The music of Emil von Reznicek
« on: March 01, 2009, 03:50:23 AM »

Here is an extract taken from the beginning of the Third Symphony of Emil von Reznicek. It sounds remarkably like Beethoven at one of his best moments does not it? And indeed in Berlin Reznicek occupied for many decades the centre of European musical life during the first half of the twentieth century. It is all the odder then that we seek his name in vain in the usually dependable Mr. Lebrecht's Companion to Twentieth-Century Music.

Reznicek was a much more sensitive person than his contemporary Mahler, and a much less popularistical man than his friend Strauss. In order to protect the interests of "tonal composers" he and Strauss in 1932 formed the Ständiger Rat für Internationale Zusammenarbeit der Komponisten so as to promote the international co-operation of composers.

During the second War the Propaganda Ministry of the Greater German Empire confiscated eighty of his manuscripts; only fourteen of which were restored to his daughter in 1946 a few months after his expiry. Most of the rest remain introuvable. We know that the British Empire too had a Propaganda Ministry at that time and we wonder whether it is known ever to have confiscated any composers' manuscripts?

In addition to much else Reznicek wrote twelve operas - of which the best known are Till Eulenspiegel, the Gondoliers, and naturally Donna Diana. Nor should we forget his Dance round the Golden Calf - really no more than a kind of ballet.

Then there are the "Tragic Symphony" of 1902, the intriguingly-named "Ironic Symphony" of 1904, the Third Symphony of 1918, and the Fourth of 1919, as well as the "Dance-Symphony" of 1924.

Of string quartets Grove lists five, dating from 1882, 1906, 1922, 1928, and 1932; but other sources just three or four! And we read many further fascinating titles such as the twenty-year-old composer's "Thoughts of a Suicidal Man" for piano from 1880, and especially The Victor - a "symphonic-satyric Zeitbild" for chorus and large orchestra which appeared in 1913.

There is also a fine violin concerto and a Requiem. Reznicek's themes are often constructed from profound chromatic fragments connected and extended through modulation; his rhythmic patterns can be strange and idiosyncratic.
Rule 1: assiduously address the what not the whom! Rule 2: shun bad language! Rule 3: do not deviate! Rule 4: be as pleasant as you can!

Online Daverz

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Re: The music of Emil von Reznicek
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2009, 04:14:09 AM »
I actually think I like Reznicek's Schlemihl more than its model, Strauss's Ein Heldenleben.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: The music of Emil von Reznicek
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2009, 07:18:17 AM »
Reznicek was an interesting composer and his music does not deserve the neglect which it suffered. Fortunately the wonderful German company CPO(how often have I said that here :)) is rescuing his music from oblivion. So far CPO has issued recordings of the Symphony No.1 "Tragic", Symphony No.2 "Ironic" and Symphony No.5 "Dance Symphony"-no doubt Nos. 3 and 4 will follow soon.

The two pieces which impressed me more however were the substantial Symphonic Poems "Schliemihl" for tenor and orchestra and "Der Sieger" and there is no doubt that both demonstrate Reznicek's ability to handle vast orchestral resources and a sense of humour.

I doubt if Reznicek's music will ever become popular-he is probably just a but too prolix-romantic German music run riot :)

In response to Sydney Grew: I am grateful to you for starting this thread-Reznicek deserves it-but I do have to say that I am not at all surprised that Lebrecht does not mention Reznicek in his book. You will search in vain for much if anything about the composer in most books on 20th century music!

I would also add that there was no British Empire  'Propaganda Ministry'. During World War Two the government in Great Britain did establish a Ministry of Information but to compare that to Dr. Goebbels Ministry of Propaganda in Nazi Germany is a travesty!

Oh...and "popularistical"!! What a horrible word ::)

Offline Sydney Grew

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Re: The music of Emil von Reznicek
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2009, 04:39:45 PM »
. . . The two pieces which impressed me more however were the substantial Symphonic Poems "Schliemihl" for tenor and orchestra and "Der Sieger" and there is no doubt that both demonstrate Reznicek's ability to handle vast orchestral resources and a sense of humour. . . .

Are these two works also on the CPO recordings we wonder . . . or if not where did the Member hear them?
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: The music of Emil von Reznicek
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2009, 05:57:14 PM »
Are these two works also on the CPO recordings we wonder . . . or if not where did the Member hear them?


Both these huge symphonic poems have been recorded by CPO-

999 898-2: "Der Sieger": Beate Koepp(contralto) and the West German Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Cologne(Michail Jurowski)

999 795-2: "Schlemihl" and the Phantasy Overture "Raskolnikov": Nobuaki Yamamasu(tenor) and the West German Radio Symphony Orchestra,
                             Cologne(Michail Jurowski)

Reviews-

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Name/Nobuaki-Yamamasu/Performer/106341-2

http://www.amazon.com/Emil-Nikolaus-von-Reznicek-Sieger/dp/B0002ONAGK

I would recommend these two works before the symphonies-pleasant though these are.


Sean

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Re: The music of Emil von Reznicek
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2009, 05:49:43 PM »
I know the Third and Fourth symphonies, which are vaguely Brucknerian, and was at a performance of the perfect little Donna Dianna overture once: would be nice to get hold of the whole opera.

snyprrr

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Re: The music of Emil von Reznicek
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2010, 08:51:25 PM »
anyone?

Offline listener

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Re: The music of Emil von Reznicek
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2010, 10:48:09 AM »
cpo also recorded
REZNICEK, Emil Nikolaus von (1860-1945)   RITTER BLAUBART         (1920)
CD      cpo 999 899      2   132:30      2002   Großer Sendesaal des SDB, Berlin
DDD      Michail Jurowski            Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
      David Pittman-Jennings, Arutjun Kotchinian, Robert Wörle, Celina Lindsley
"Keep your hand on the throttle and your eye on the rail as you walk through life's pathway."

Offline Leo K.

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Re: The music of Emil von Reznicek
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2011, 12:00:11 PM »
I am really enjoying the very interesting 1st Symphony, from the CPO label:



I'm at the adagio right now, and finding myself captivated by this work.

I should add this is my first time hearing Reznicek.

Here is a good review of this CD, quoted from http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/c/cpo77223a.php

Quote
The ever-enterprising CPO label is determined that Emil Nikolaus von Reznicek (1860-1945) should be remembered for something other than his scintillating Donna Diana overture. In recent years, CPO has released several discs devoted to this composer – including, one might add, a complete recording of the aforementioned opera. This latest release, recorded in May 2006, in some ways only adds to the confusion, because here is a composer who cannot be pinned down or stereotyped.

This symphony was premiered in January 1903, and was lost soon after, only reappearing in the late 1980s. (Even today, it remains unpublished.) Quite why it is a "tragic" symphony is not clear, and annotator Eckhardt van den Hoogen seems to be suggesting that the composer's tongue was at least partly in his cheek. (I write "seems to," because van den Hoogen's florid prose itself is multi-layered and somewhat ironic.) The composer insisted that the symphony had no program, and then went on to provide a program anyway. It seems that the first movement initially presents us with the "symbol of a character bearing a tragic conflict within himself," and this is complemented by a "female character." The two themes are opposed and there is a "short erotic episode." And so on! Next comes a Scherzo, an Adagio, and finally a set of variations, culminating in "madness, collapse, catastrophe." The concept sounds oh-so-very Mahlerian, but as van den Hoogen points out (concerning the third movement), we get "Mahlerian touches without Mahlerian tours into all that is wrong in the world." Without sounding derivative, this symphony raids the treasure trove of 18th-century German music, from Beethoven to Wagner, and from Bruckner to Richard Strauss, and casts lingering glances at Tchaikovsky as well. It's an epic work that adds up to rather less than the sum of its parts, but for all its faults and frustrations, it is fascinating and certainly not poor use of an hour!

The Four Songs of Prayer and Repentance were completed in 1913. These also are odd ducks, although, with their sacred texts, they are as earnest as can be. In each song, with no orchestral preparation, the soloist launches into the text. The settings are sensitive but not illustrative, and certainly not wasteful, because nothing is repeated, and once the singer runs out of words, the song comes to a halt! The longest of the four lasts only 4:03, and the first is half that length. Mezzo Marina Prudenskaja sings them simply and intelligently, with what is clearly a very attractive voice.

The Brandenburg State Orchestra Frankfurt was founded in 1842, but hasn't really had an international reputation until recently. It makes a positive impression on this recording, sounding neither underpowered nor half-hearted as it makes its way through this unusual music. Conductor Beermann leads the orchestra sympathetically, and one feels that the performers have given these works every possible chance to succeed. The engineering is fine as well.

This is not an essential symphony, but those who want to wallow in a late Romantic work that isn't too neurotic might find Reznicek's symphony congenial, despite its subtitle!

Copyright © 2009, Raymond Tuttle

Offline Scion7

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Re: The music of Emil von Reznicek - chamber works
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2014, 12:16:26 PM »
I cannot find any archive vinyl LP or CD of any of these - he was a good orchestrator, and seemed to have dedicated much effort to string quartets - I'm very curious but can't find an amateur YouTube performance or any other such - drat it all.   >:(

   Walzerlied (Piano Trio)

        Nachstuck for Violin & Cello  1921

        Fur unsere Kleinen (Piano Trio)  1921

      Kol Nidrey: Vorspiel zu Holofernes, Trio for Piano, Violin & Cello   1926
      
   String Quartet in c minor   1882      age: 22
 String Quartet in c minor
(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
I.    Allegretto con fuoco
II.    Andante tranquillo - Allegretto ma non troppo
III.    Presto à la hongroise

   String Quartet in c-sharp minor   1905     age: 45
 String Quartet in c-sharp minor
(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
I.    Mässig, aber mit schwung
II.    Sehr gehalten, etwas gepresst, phantasierend
III.    Scherzo. Sehr schnell und leicht
IV.    Nicht sehr schnell, gewichtig
V.    Mässig bewegt

   String Quartet in c-sharp minor   1921      age: 61
 String Quartet in c-sharp minor
(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
I.    Allegro
II.    Andante mosso
III.    Allegretto
IV.    Moderato

   String Quartet in d minor   (?) 1921-1922   age: 62
 String Quartet in d minor
(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
I.    Moderato
II.    Adagio
III.    Molto moderato quasi andante
IV.    Allegro

   String Quartet in e minor   1925-1930   age: 70
  (single movement?)

   String Quartet in B-flat major   1932     age: 72
 String Quartet in B-flat major
(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
I.    Allegro moderato
II.    Notturno
III.    Allegro con fuoco
IV.    Andante con variazioni

Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.