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Cat. No. CHAN 10204 Price: £12 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10204 - Zemlinsky: Symphony in B flat major/ Prelude to 'Es war einmal'/Sinfonietta/'Der König Kandaules'
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Available From: 10 May 2004
Zemlinsky composed his Symphony in B flat major in 1897 and entered it for the Beethoven Prize of 1898 (a competition inaugurated and partly financed by Brahms) where it won joint first prize. Behind the apparent conservatism of the work, the score already points to the composer who was to find his voice during the radical years of the following century.

Whereas the symphony pays respect to the classicist tradition, the opera Es war einmal… (Once upon a time…), composed in 1897–99, exudes a rarefied perfume of art nouveau. The libretto follows the storyline of Grimm’s King Drosselbart, the saga of a haughty Princess duped and humbled by an unknown Prince. Dramatically, the Prelude was not ideally placed and Mahler (who conducted the opera’s premiere) requested that the stormy middle section be cut. For this recording the original version has been restored.

Hoping for a world premiere of his opera Der König Kandaules in New York, Zemlinsky set sail, in December 1938, for America. However, when it became apparent that the opera contained a nude scene, and what was generally perceived to be a ‘depraved’ libretto, support for a performance at The Metropolitan Opera was withdrawn. Though one of the composer’s most gripping stage works, the opera was not premiered until 1992, in Hamburg, when the Zeminlinsky ‘renaissance’ was well under way.

Zemlinsky composed his Sinfonietta in 1934 in the light of his experience of the rise of Nazism. Its outer movements are at once a celebration of life and a dance of death. For all its bravura – and this is Zemlinsky’s most virtuosic score – the music speaks intimately.

'The unique sound of the Czech Philharmonic proves ideal for this music' the Czech recording teamcaptures its performances with all the richness the Prague Rudolfinium has to offer.'
BBC Music Magazine

This Chandos recording is glorious… once again the playing of the great Czech orchestra is stupendous…

'The Czech Philharmonic is the perfect orchestra for such an approach, and it plays with cleanly honed elan. Good as the James Conlon's reading is, it is Beaumont who convinces me that Zemlinsky's Symphony is a major work.'
American Record Guide


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