JULIUS ROENTGEN (1855-1932): Symphony No. 18 in A, Ballade über eine norwegische Volksmelodie, Op. 36, A Little Song of the Sea, Op. 45, 6 Old Netherlands Dances, Op. 46.

Catalogue Number: 03K001

Label: CPO

Reference: 777 255

Format: CD

Price: $15.98

Description: The symphony occupied the aging composer for around 24 hours (May 27/28, 1931) although it took him a few more days to finish the orchestration. And this is one of his larger late symphonies (many of which were single-movement pieces of 8-15 minutes), being in four movements and lasting over 23 minutes. A strings, timpani and trumpet baroque-like first movement which recalls Grieg's Holberg Suite's prelude is followed by a moderately grave passacaglia, a very short, very Mendelssohnian scherzo and a bright, animated finale. Both the Little Song and the Dances (1902) are orchestrations of old, 16th-century Netherlands dances, the latter from Tilman Susato's 1551 collection "Danserije". Unlike some of his European contemporaries who might spice such things up with neo-classical dissonances and recompose or "reimagine" them, Roentgen's purpose was faithfulness to the originals and a dispersal of them to a broader audience through the medium of the modern orchestra. The longer Norwegian Ballade (17 min.) uses a folk song the composer heard direct from a peasant milkmaid in 1891 and he treats it with great respect and ingenuity, showing his orchestrational chops admirably. North German Radio Philharmonic; David Porcelijn.


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