One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

in the first division


extraordinary by any standards


An excellent disc


a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.


Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now
RECORDING OF THE MONTH


A Garland for John McCabe


ABRAHAMSEN Quartets


DIETHELM Symphonies


The best Rite of Spring in Years


BACH Magnificat


Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26


Just enjoy it!


.
La Mer Ticciati

Eriks EŠENVALDS

Detlev GLANERT

Jaw-dropping

 

 

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942)
Die Seejungfrau (The Mermaid) [47:36]
Sinfonietta [21:35]
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra/John Storgårds
rec. Helsinki Music Centre, September 2014
ONDINE ODE1237-5 SACD [69:25]

Zemlinsky commenced work on Die Seejungfrau (“The Mermaid”) in 1892. It was originally envisaged as a single-movement symphonic, and very programmatic, work, based, as it was, on the Hans Christian Andersen story. As work on the piece progressed, it became more of large-scale “Fantasy for Orchestra”, as it was billed at its first performance; more of a general mood-picture inspired by the story and less a programmatical re-telling of this in music. This SACD recording by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor John Storgårds brings out most beautifully the lush, rich, luxuriant harmonies of the work, as if both conductor and orchestra are revelling in the sumptuous opulence of the orchestration. Recorded at the Helsinki Music Centre, the sound has a warmth that suits the work extremely well, resulting in a splendidly lavish and generous performance, in which the conductor neither rushes, nor falls into the trap of indulging too much and consequently dragging. This particular recording also has the great benefit of including a four-minute slow and atmospheric passage entitled “In the realm of the Mer-Witch”, suppressed by the composer and so not heard elsewhere.

Die Seejungfrau is twinned on the disc with the Sinfonietta, composed in 1934 after Zemlinksy’s relocation to Vienna (after fleeing Nazi Germany). The Sinfonietta is presented here in a version for chamber orchestra, the arrangement made by Roland Freistizer in 2013, of which this is the world premiere recording. It is a good arrangement but I do always in such circumstances miss the richness of the original version. It is a far leaner work than the plush and exuberant Die Seejungfrau, with a terser sound-world – economical, more angular and harsher in tone, yet there is still a yearning quality and a beauty of sound that links it to his earlier works. The performance here can yet again be highly recommended – full of humour, passion and radiance in the appropriate places. This rendition can therefore be fully recommended, as, most certainly, can the gorgeous, luscious performance of Die Seejungfrau.

Em Marshall-Luck

Previous review: Nick Barnard

 

 




Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger