MANFRED GURLITT (1890-1972): Goya-Symphony, 4 dramatische Gesänge for Soprano and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 09K005
Label: Phoenix Edition
Description: Gurlitt, whose only other recorded works are the operas Soldaten and Wozzeck, will be an interesting case for all those interested in music and musicians in the Third Reich. From a famous musical and scholarly family of long-assimilated Jews, he managed to stay in Germany until 1939 although he was removed from his official posts in 1933. He submitted works to the Reichsmusikammer in an attempt to meet the demands of Nazi cultural officials but none of them were ever permitted to be performed. Finally, in 1939 he moved to Japan where he worked as a conductor and teacher for the rest of his life. (His brother, an art dealer, helped the Nazis amass plundered art and lived until 1965.) The 49-minute Goya symphony dates from 1938-39 but may not have been performed until 1950. One can see, in the 17-minute final movement, a set of variations, the possibility that it expresses his frustration and self-pity at being ostracized, humiliated and banished by the Nazis although, of course, he was lucky to live. The style is neo-classical with some late Romanticism mixed in; simple diatonicism exists with bitonality and polytonality and all of the material of the first, second and fourth movements derives from the opening bars - a tour de force of large-scale motivic organization. Lack of space prevents more information here but there is much more fascinating stuff in the notes and the songs have their own, different, strengths. German-English texts. Christiane Oelze (soprano), Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra; Antony Beaumont.