BRUNO WALTER (1876-1962): Symphony in D Minor.
Catalogue Number: 02K001
Reference: 777 163
Description: Walter finished his first (of two) symphonies in 1907 and played it on the piano for Mahler, whose assistant at the Vienna Court Opera he had been since 1901. "Unfortunately, it means nothing to me, and my frank opinion put him in a state of mild despair.", said the great composer. Which we, a century later, will find odd since Mahler is whom we will think of practically everywhere in this hour-long symphony, especially in the funeral-march-like 20-minute first movement, full of oppressive and bleak spirits and in the ländler-like scherzo. But the way Walter develops and transforms his many themes and the well-wrought counterpoint are his own voice and the finale, not without Mahlerian echoes, is also his own. Predictably, the conservative critic Julius Korngold picked it apart mercilessly, while critics of the Schönberg-Zemlinsky circle were unstintingly positive. Let's hope the second symphony gets recorded too. North German Radio Symphony Orchestra; Leon Botstein.