Järvi: Raff - Symphony no.5 "Lenore", Overtures, Abends (24/96 FLAC)
Järvi: Raff – Symphony no.5 “Lenore”, Overtures, Abends (24/96 FLAC)

Composer: Joachim Raff
Orchestra: Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Conductor: Neeme Järvi
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Chandos
Size: 944 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. Overture to ‘Dame Kobold’, Op. 154 (1869) Comic Opera in Three Acts
Allegro – Andante – Tempo I – Poco più mosso

02. Abends, Op. 163b (1874)
Rhapsody
Orchestration by the composer of the fifth movement from Piano Suite No. 6, Op. 163 (1871)
Moderato – Un poco agitato – Tempo I

03. Overture to ‘Konig Alfred’, WoO 14 (1848-49) Grand Heroic Opera in Four Acts
Andante maestoso – Doppio movimento, Allegro – Meno moto, quasi Marcia –

04. Prelude to ‘Dornroschen’, WoO 19 (1855) Fairy Tale Epic in Four Parts
Mäßig bewegt

05. Overture to ‘Die Eifersuchtigen’, WoO 54 (1881-82) Comic Opera in Three Acts
Andante – Allegro

Symphony No. 5, Op. 177 ‘Lenore’ (1872)
in E major – in E-Dur – en mi majeur
Erste Abtheilung. Liebesglück
(First Section. Joy of Love)

06.Allegro
07.Andante quasi Larghetto
08.Marsch-Tempo – Agitato
09.Introduction und Ballade (nach G. Bürger’s ‘Lenore’)

Orchestra: Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Conductor: Neeme Järvi
9 and 10 July 2013

This is the second volume in a series from Neeme Järvi and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande dedicated to the orchestral music of the Swiss-born composer Joachim Raff. Although he was a highly popular and prolific composer during his day, his works quickly fell out of the repertoire after his death and are largely forgotten today. The idiomatic performances by Neeme Järvi and his Swiss orchestra in Volume 1, described as ‘peerless’ by BBC Music (*****), suggest that they are the perfect performers to reinvigorate interest in Raff’s music.

This second volume features the rhapsody, Abends, and a number of overtures and preludes alongside Symphony No. 5. Subtitled Lenore, the fifth is one of Raff’s so-called programme symphonies, the only one based on a precise extra-musical source: Gottfried August Bürger’s poetic ballad of the same name. The shorter works show very different sides of Raff’s compositional personality. The grandiose Overture to König Alfred reflects the heroic/romantic nature of the opera’s story while the overtures to the comic operas Dame Kobold and Die Eifersüchtigen are full of humour and high spirits. Dornröschen is an oratorio based on the famous story of Briar Rose, or The Sleeping Beauty, by the brothers Grimm and its prelude has been recorded here.

The second album in Neeme Järvi’s cycle of Raff’s symphonies (And who would have thought that a giant like Järvi even bothers with this neglected slice of German romanticism?!) showcases the composer’s most famous symphony, No.5 (‘Lenore’, after a ballad by Bürger). Järvi was never a slouch, but in his autumn years he seems to be getting faster still: Indeed, his tempi in the ‘Lenore’ are the fastest of any commercial recording. Järvi’s account is the direct opposite of Bernard Herrmann’s now-classic 1975 account (on Pye, later on Unicorn Kanchana) – and, frankly, the symphony seems just a tad rushed here and there. On the whole, however, Järvi’s reading is very persuasive, and this is a generously filled album, superbly recorded.

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