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Cat. No. CHAN 9893 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9893 - Reinecke: Symphonies Nos 2 & 3
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Audio Sample

Available From: 12 March 2001
The nineteenth century is filled with composers who once enjoyed major reputations but today are barely remembered. The German composer Carl Reinecke was one of them. At the height of his career in the 1860s he was as esteemed as Schumann and Liszt. However, in spite of a huge body of works, today he is known mainly for his small piano pieces, a flute sonata called Undine and some effective cadenzas for concertos by Bach and Beethoven. Yet he was so much more that a mere footnote in musical history.

Born in Altona (then a Danish town and today part of Hamburg), Reinecke was the son of a music teacher. He composed his earliest pieces at the age of seven. At twelve he made his debut as a pianist and rapidly developed a reputation for musical facility in all genres. Everything seemed to be easy for him, and, at nineteen, Reinecke began his international career as conductor, accompanist, teacher and composer. He was vastly prolific and he knew everybody of importance, including Mendelssohn, Schumann, Liszt, Hiller, Berlioz and Brahms. He held important teaching posts in Cologne, Barmen and especially Leipzig where, in 1860, he was appointed Director of the Gewandhaus. He was to remain there for thirty-five years, and was Professor of Piano and Composition at the renowned Conservatory until his retirement in 1902. Among his many distinguished pupils were Grieg, Sinding, Sullivan, Delius and Weingartner.

Those familiar with Reinecke’s First Symphony will be pleased to find the same dignified style, the same formal cohesion and keen sense of instrumental colour in the works recorded here. He clearly learned from and emulated his contemporaries, especially Mendelssohn and Schumann. The string textures, the voicing of the woodwinds, the heroic role of trumpets and trombones and a certain translucence on the orchestral writing all owe their origins, as well, to the early works of his friend Johannes Brahms.

‘I cannot imagine a more persuasive and compelling brief on behalf of either work, any more than I can imagine any lover of romantic music who might not want to have this marvellous recording in his collection.’
American Record Guide

'Howard Shelley as conductor proves the most compelling advocate, drawing warm, committed performances from his players.'


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