JOHANN RUFINATSCHA (1812-1893): Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Symphony No. 6 in D, Overture Die Braut von Messina.

Catalogue Number: 05M001

Label: Chandos

Reference: 10665

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: As you can see, this Austrian composer, from a small village in the Tyrol, was a contemporary of Schumann and Mendelssohn and died just short of Brahms and Bruckner. But very little is known about him beyond the fact that he was OK enough with Brahms to become a member of his inner circle (and Brahms didn't have time for fools) and that he stopped composing not long after the symphony recorded here (which is undated but which was supposed to be performed in the mid-1860s by Otto Dessoff but which didn't happen). At 57 minutes, this is a symphony of Schubertian "divine length", and it is a lyrical work with long-breathed melodic lines with various moments (logged in the booklet notes) which will make you think of Schubert, Bruckner and Brahms but this is a symphony which predates all of Brahms', Bruckner would not have known any of Rufinatscha's music and the Schubert Eighth and Ninth were almost unknown still in the early 1860s. The concert overture (we assume it's a concert overture since, at 14 minutes, it's too long to be opening music for a play) takes its size and form from Beethoven's Leonore 2 & 3 although nothing in the music sounds like Beethoven except for its final two hushed, pizzicato unison Cs which recall the ending of Coriolan. There will be two more volumes; one of Rufinatscha's symphonies exists only in piano duo form and one is lost. This could be the best Germanic Romantic discovery since the four Gernsheim symphonies.

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