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Cat. No. CHAN 10138 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10138 - Zemlinsky: Die Seejungfrau/ Symphony in D minor
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Available From: 14 November 2003
Though only ten years separate the two works on this disc, the pieces are clearly from very different periods in Zemlinsky’s compositional career. The Symphony in D was written in 1893, when life was good for the composer. The work marked the end of a happy time at the Vienna Conservatory where he was admired by his teachers and popular with his fellow students. It demonstrates his new-found skill in the Brahmsian technique of developing variation which, if applied with skill and imagination, enables a composer to generate a large-scale form from a handful of seemingly trivial ideas. In this spirit, everything in Zemlinsky’s Symphony in D originates directly or indirectly from its first five notes.

By 1903, when Zemlinsky was putting the finishing touches to Die Seejungfrau (a fantasy for orchestra after the fairy tale by Hans Andersen) his world had been reduced to chaos. The sudden death of his father in 1900 had obliged him to provide for his family by conducting operetta. The emergence of a virulent new form of Viennese anti-Semitism had moved him to embrace first Christianity and then Freemasonry. Always popular with the opposite sex, a rejection from a young, rich Jewish girl he was in love with had left him distraught. Initially Die Seejungfrau was to be an illustrative work. However, during composition, Zemlinsky’s centre of interest shifted from the illustrative to the abstract, diverging from the narrative to make space for a psychological study of the mermaid: her devotion to the prince, her vision of death, an intimation of her immortality. Opening in Tristan-inspired tones of suffering and solitude, the third movement reaches its climax in a dramatic downward plunge of the strings as the mermaid hurls herself to her death.
Reviews

…with the Czech Philharmonic on fine form and well recorded, Beaumont gives the music a greater sweep, combined with an attention to detail that elucidates Zemlinskys masterly twists and turns of motifs, use of orchestral colour and harmonic shifts.
BBC Music Magazine

But with the Czech Philharmonic on fine form and well recorded, Beaumont gives the music a greater sweep, combined with an attention to detail that elucidates Zemlinskys masterly twists and turns of motifs, use of orchestral colour and harmonic shifts. By its side, the early D minor symphony, Zemlinksys graduation piece of 1893, struggles to make and impression, though Beaumont succeeds in conveying its youthful vigour and melodic colour.
BBC Music Magazine

You’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a Hollywood score. Beautifully recorded, masterfully played.
Classic FM Magazine

Beautifully recorded, masterfully played…
Classic FM Magazine

'But with the Czech Philharmonic on fine form and well recorded, Beaumont gives the music a greater sweep, combined with an attention to detail that elucidates Zemlinsky's masterly twists and turns of motifs, use of orchestral colour and harmonic shifts. By its side, the early D minor symphony, Zemlinksy's graduation piece of 1893, struggles to make and impression, though Beaumont succeeds in conveying its youthful vigour and melodic colour.'
BBC Music Magazine

'The Die Seejungfrau (The Mermaid) Fantasy, based on Hans Andersen's tale, is truly wonderful. You'd be forgiven for mistaking it for a Hollywood score. Beautifully recorded, masterfully played.'
Classic FM Magazine

The Die Seejungfrau (The Mermaid) Fantasy, based on Hans Andersens tale, is truly wonderful. Youd be forgiven for mistaking it for a Hollywood score. Beautifully recorded, masterfully played.
Classic FM Magazine

 

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