Author Topic: Kalliwoda's Klatsch  (Read 3283 times)

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Offline Brian

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Kalliwoda's Klatsch
« on: June 28, 2011, 11:48:42 AM »
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Jan Vaclav Kalliwoda (Johann Wenzel Kalliwoda; 1801-1866) was a Czech composer who spent his forty most productive years as a court composer for the Furstenburg princes in Donaueschingen. He's an absolutely fascinating "missing link" in music history: besides being what must have been one of the last lifelong court composers, Kalliwoda was a totally original stylist who took the stylistic baton from Schubert and ran headlong into the late 19th century. In the "Name that piece!" thread, his late Overture No 16 was mistaken for a whole host of later Czech composers, plus Karl Goldmark.

In his early years Kalliwoda was a big favorite of Robert Schumann, whose own symphonies may have been written with the Czech man's examples in mind; Schumann began work on his First Symphony after the publication of Kalliwoda's Fifth (1840). I also very distinctly hear Kalliwoda's influence in the early music of Dvorak and the other Czechs. Kalliwoda wrote freely for the woodwinds and gave them all manner of big tunes, with an orchestral style in which the winds and brass were absolutely equal to the strings in importance. Kalliwoda's deployment of catchy tunes and vigorous rhythms points simultaneously backward to Schubert and, thanks to added color and daring, forward to Dvorak's Symphonies 2-5 and Smetana. By the end of his career, in the 1860s, Kalliwoda was happily absorbing Wagnerian influences and projecting them onto his own style.

The Symphony No 3 (1830) is a fascinating work in the early romantic style. It is a cyclical symphony in which each movement's return to the exposition is marked by the intrusion of a jarring motto theme based on tritones (!). The scherzo serves the same rhetorical-emotional purpose as, if with rather less exuberance than, the scherzo of Brahms' Fourth some fifty years later; after its bars are over the self-destructive finale charges past an allusion to Mozart's 40th to its own frenetic finish.

The Symphony No 5 (1840) might be Kalliwoda's masterpiece, a dramatic minor-key work which drives with irresistible momentum from first bar to last. The massive, apocalyptic brass fanfare opening probably inspired a similar (cheerier) beginning in Schumann's First, and eerily foreshadows the beginning of Tchaikovsky's Fourth. Then the introduction gives way to a gloomy cello tune, though, followed by the bustling first movement proper. The scherzo has a hunting-horn trio and another gloomy, furious ending, which somehow magically transforms into a cheery, buzzing allegretto with chirpy winds and frolicsome violins. But that's just a bluff before the hard-driven finale.

Kalliwoda wrote a series of twenty-four overtures over the course of his career, somewhat prosaically just numbering them. Only a handful have been recorded; overture no 16 was the subject of a "Name that piece!" game here, the teaser clip to which can be heard here. That clip is a bit misleading, as the bulk of the piece is rather gloomy and loud (the quiet parts are, however, really really good).

Kalliwoda's three string quartets are available on disc, and I once had them, but unwisely I deleted them from my hard drive and now feel like a doofus for doing so. They were fresh and inventive and charming pieces.

The CPO disc of Symphonies 5 and 7 is an excellent introduction, as is the MDG album containing the Third Symphony and two very pleasant concertante works (for clarinet and horn). The string quartets are on a CD by the Talich Quartet.

CPO has just released a disc of Symphonies 2 and 4, which I have yet to hear; there are available recordings of No 6, a somewhat overlong pastoral work, No 7, from Kalliwoda's signature Sturm und Drang style, and I think No 1 is available somewhere, meaning you can patch together the whole cycle drawing from 4 record labels. Naxos will be recording Kalliwoda's violin music (concertos and concertinos plus chamber works); the composer was a talented violinist who toured before settling down to compose.

Offline Cato

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Re: Kalliwoda's Klatsch
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2011, 12:50:31 PM »
I had no idea that so much of Kalliwoda was now on CD's!  I recall a few old LP's in the 60's or 70's with his First Symphony and a few other early symphonies (probably on Supraphon).

Now I need to check with the Imperial High Command     :o    about our bank account! 
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Offline Grazioso

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Re: Kalliwoda's Klatsch
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2011, 03:38:33 AM »
Anyone who enjoys late Classical/early Romantic music surely owes it to himself to hear symphony 5: it's a stunner. Its unjust obscurity makes you shake your fist at music history. Why the heck isn't this a repertory piece?
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Offline Cato

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Re: Kalliwoda's Klatsch
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2011, 02:01:38 PM »
I have been re-listening to the Kalliwoda CD with the Symphonies V and VII and the Overture #16.

Some of the Amazon reviewers commented on Kalliwoda's imaginative manipulation of his themes, while lamenting somewhat the quality of the themes, finding them inferior.  I can understand that, while at the same time wondering whether some of the themes' quality might not lie in their subtlety.  They are not Dvorakian toe-tappers, but - thinking here of parts of the Seventh Symphony and the Overture #16 - seem more complex with an introspective atmosphere

Grazioso raved about the Fifth Symphony.  The more I listen to it, the more I find the Overture a masterpiece, with Brucknerian and even Mahlerian echoes of the future.
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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Offline Leo K.

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Re: Kalliwoda's Klatsch
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2012, 11:49:33 AM »
My recent explorations of Franz Lachner has lead me to Kalliwoda, and in particular, the CPO disk of his no.5 and 7 symphonies.

Listening to no.5 right now. I'm completely taken away...amazing, amazing.




Offline Brian

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Re: Kalliwoda's Klatsch
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2015, 06:33:17 AM »
Grazioso raved about the Fifth Symphony.  The more I listen to it, the more I find the Overture a masterpiece, with Brucknerian and even Mahlerian echoes of the future.
Listening to Overture No. 16 again, I can't help but agree with you. Its stature grows in my mind every time I hear it - now I think I might choose it as my favorite Kalliwoda piece. It's such a bizarre, fascinating blend of Berlioz, Wagner, Haydn, and maybe even Saint-Saens (though written far before Saint-Saens' maturity). There is nothing else like it in all my listening!

I have just finished my MusicWeb review of this new release:



Here Kalliwoda's violin 'concertinos' make a great first impression! No. 1 is in E major and No. 5 in A minor; No. 5 is more interesting, and was written the same year as the Mendelssohn concerto. Obviously, Mendelssohn wins, but Kalliwoda is more willfully weird, from his spooky intro to the Italian guitar serenade episodes in the finale.

The standout to me is Overture No. 10, a 7-minute firecracker. Fasten your seat belts, because once it gets going, it doesn't let up!

I am starting to think that Kalliwoda could out-Sturm and out-Drang anybody. He really thrives on whipping up a thunderstorm of music in a tiny span.

Offline Cato

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Re: Kalliwoda's Klatsch
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2015, 04:21:51 AM »
Listening to Overture No. 16 again, I can't help but agree with you. Its stature grows in my mind every time I hear it - now I think I might choose it as my favorite Kalliwoda piece. It's such a bizarre, fascinating blend of Berlioz, Wagner, Haydn, and maybe even Saint-Saens (though written far before Saint-Saens' maturity). There is nothing else like it in all my listening!

I have just finished my MusicWeb review of this new release:



Here Kalliwoda's violin 'concertinos' make a great first impression! No. 1 is in E major and No. 5 in A minor; No. 5 is more interesting, and was written the same year as the Mendelssohn concerto. Obviously, Mendelssohn wins, but Kalliwoda is more willfully weird, from his spooky intro to the Italian guitar serenade episodes in the finale.

The standout to me is Overture No. 10, a 7-minute firecracker. Fasten your seat belts, because once it gets going, it doesn't let up!

I am starting to think that Kalliwoda could out-Sturm and out-Drang anybody. He really thrives on whipping up a thunderstorm of music in a tiny span.

Many thanks for the review!  I do not yet have this CD, but another birthday is approaching... ???...and my wife always needs gift ideas  ;)

Thanks to YouTube, the uninitiated can sample Kalliwoda's voice:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/OXQ9f2dEL1Q" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/OXQ9f2dEL1Q</a>
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline Daverz

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Re: Kalliwoda's Klatsch
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2017, 08:25:19 PM »
New release



Listening on Tidal now, and the Symphony No. 1 sounds great.  May be able to retire the crackly old Turnabout Lp.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2017, 08:27:23 PM by Daverz »

Offline Cato

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Re: Kalliwoda's Klatsch
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2017, 05:28:49 AM »
New release



Listening on Tidal now, and the Symphony No. 1 sounds great.  May be able to retire the crackly old Turnabout Lp.

Great!  Many thanks for the information!  My wife has been asking for a suggestion for a Valentine's Day present! 8)
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline Brian

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Re: Kalliwoda's Klatsch
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2017, 06:06:03 AM »
The clarinet piece has previously appeared on MDG - a recording I purchased last night! - but I must say this new performance sounds absolutely fantastic. Sounds like the soloist really enjoyed every minute  8)