> Peter Mieg - Symphony [RB]: Classical CD Reviews- Aug 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Peter MIEG (1906-1990)
Symphony (1950) [24.50]
Rondeau Symphonique (1964) [16.53]
Combray (1977) [18.08]
Polish Radio SO, Krakow/André Froelicher
rec 1990?, Krakow, Poland
GALLO CD-681 [59.51]



Peter Mieg was born in Lenzburg, Switzerland. He studied the arts broadly in Basel, Paris and Zurich in the 1950s and after advice from Frank Martin he had some concert successes. His friendship with artists in all spheres included Mr and Mrs Paul Sacher. Sacher commissioned from him a work for string orchestra. Combray is the result. The work is related to and inspired by Proust's ‘La recherche du temps perdu’, a book which Mieg knew in minute detail. The three movements are La salle à manger; La vivonne and Le Pré Catelan. The music represents landscapes of the mind rather than particular sound-pictures of places in the novels.

In Combray the first movement is lusty and singing with touches of Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings in its swinging motion. There are also references to Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony. The second movement is again Tchaikovskian in Sérénade Mélancolique mood. The Krakow orchestra's strings are not up to snuff in the plushness department though adequate enough in tone. There is a busy dancing finale - similar in feeling to Dag Wirén in his Serenade for Strings or to Gösta Nystroem in his two Concertos for Strings.

The Symphony is not neo-classical. Instead various voices call for attention: Alwyn's Third Symphony (allegro comodo at 5.23), Arnold Cooke and Vaughan Williams. The Martinù influence raises its head in the little pecking motifs (e.g. 8.02 of the first movement). As the movement progresses to its end it becomes more dissonant but these things are comparative - gentle stuff really. In the 'tempo di valse' we find modern echoes of Tchaikovsky 5 and of the second movement of Number 4. The allegro is searchingly poignant like a modern doppelgänger of the Tchaikovsky Pathétique or the romantic Prokofiev 7. The Rondeau symphonique again reeks of modernist Tchaikovsky (something of a Swiss counterpart to Boiko, here) with a pleasing silvery violin dance at 6.40. The orchestra is not ideally on song.

Rob Barnett


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