GÜNTER RAPHAEL (1903-1960): Symphony No. 2 in B minor, Op. 34 (MDR Symphony Orchestra; Christoph Altstaedt), Symphony No. 3 in F, Op. 60 (MDR SO; Matthias Foremny), Symphony No. 4 in C, Op. 62 (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra; Sergiu Celibidache. Rec. Dec. 7, 1950), Symphony No. 5 in B Flat, Op. 75 (North German Radio Symphony Orchestra; Hans-Schmidt Isserstedt. Rec. Nov. 1-4, 1960), Choral Symphony "Von der großen Weisheit", Op. 81 (Cvetka Ahlin [alto], Raimund Grumbach [baritone], Bavarian Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra; Michael Gielen. Rec. Dec. 22, 1965).

Catalogue Number: 06L002

Label: CPO

Reference: 777 563

Format: CD

Price: $47.98

Description: Raphael is one of the most neglected composers who suffered under the Nazis. His father was Jewish but his marriage to a Dane helped him escape deportation to the camps until he was hospitalized in 1944 with pleurisy and narrowly escaped that fate by being transferred to a different hospital. Four of his five symphonies are here, two in brand-new recordings while the conductors of the others will tell you how highly he was thought of once (Furtwängler premiered both his First and Fourth (1947) symphonies). These are large-scale works (No. 2, of 1933, has five movements and lasts over 45 minutes) and are solidly in the German Romantic tradition (No. 2 very much in the Brahms/Reger/Mahler mould) with refinements in tonality and instrumentation as time went on. The Third (1942) has both the sense of oppression and anxiety you might expect but also one of the lightest trios in its scherzo movement you'll ever find in a work written by a composer threatened with death. The huge, 72-minute choral symphony from 1956 (four years after the Fifth) sets texts by Lao Tze. Space prevents saying more except that these should be seen as monuments of the 20th century symphony which are finally being brought to light after far too long. 3 CDs.

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