PAUL BEN-HAIM (1897-1984): Symphony No. 2, Concerto Grosso.
Catalogue Number: 06S002
Reference: 777 677-2
Description: Like the 1940 First, the 1945 Second is another large-scale Romantic symphony (43:33 in this recording) but, composed during the final months of the war, it exchanges the atmosphere of oppressive fear of its predecessor for calm, hope and optimism, from its pastoral first movement through the folk dance-flavored scherzo and finale, with only the slow movement expressing the effect on the Jews living in Palestine of the full reports of the Holocaust. Apparently a first recording, the 1931 Concerto Grosso was Ben-Haim’s (or Frankenberger’s, as he was known in his Munich days) first orchestral work. In three movements - Sarbande-Fugue, Aria, and Chaconne - lasting just under half an hour, it’s in the style of late German Romanticism (you may think of Reger as it begins) with a dash of Debussy in the Aria’s opening flute solo. A powerful work pointing to a great career to come, except that he was not renewed in his Kapellmeister job at Augsburg Opera that very same year when Nazi management took over, leading to his emigration to Palestine two years later. NDR Radio Philharmonic; Israel Yinon.