Author Topic: Richard Wetz(1875-1935)  (Read 13083 times)

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Online André

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Re: Richard Wetz(1875-1935)
« Reply #40 on: May 04, 2021, 11:13:52 AM »
I'd start with Symphony No 1-3 on CPO. For example, this recording:



That’s the one I chose to start exploring his symphonies. I have the other two still wrapped waiting in the pile. In the past I’ve enjoyed his subdued, low-key Requiem (is that an oxymoron ?  ::)).

I’ve read about his life, his style, in various articles, reviews and the booklet notes from the CPO disc. There is a bit of Bruckner in the symphony, esp. a near quote of the adagio of the B7 in the 1st movement, but generally I don’t detect much else in terms of a putative influence. The very start of the work made me think initially of Dvorak’s 6th (first mov.) but upon the 3rd listening I decided it was Delius, not Dvorak that was the closest to that beautiful beginning. Date-wise it is entirely possible Wetz may have heard some Delius (he was well regarded in Germany), but it seems he settled in provincial Erfurt in 1906 and spent the rest of his life there. Was Delius played in Erfurt ? In the third movement there is more angularity, even hints of chromaticism that signal an awareness of contemporary developments.

I was drawn to the work for a second and then a third listening. Nothing bold or striking, just a feeling of appreciation for the composer’s obvious thematic gift and his talent for developing his material logically and with assurance. There were a lot of German composers in the post-romantic era (say, 1910-1935) who steadfastly composed in an idiom that harked back some 50 years as if nothing had happened in the interregnum. The advent of the War and the violent drive toward modernism that followed effectively buried the reputation these composers may once have enjoyed. We have to thank CPO for letting some air and light in the dungeon of artistic oblivion. I don’t think we’ll see composers such as Braunfels, Boehe, Weingartner and Wetz in symphony programs outside of Germany, but at least we have the recordings.