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Cat. No. CHSA 5135 Price: £11.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHSA 5135 - Raff: Symphony No. 5/Overtures/Abends
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Available From: 16 February 2014
Raff: Symphony No. 5/Overtures/Abends

 This is the second volume in a series from Neeme Järvi and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande dedicated to the orchestral music of the Swiss-born composer Joachim Raff. Although he was a highly popular and prolific composer during his day, his works quickly fell out of the repertoire after his death and are largely forgotten today. The idiomatic performances by Neeme Järvi and his Swiss orchestra in Volume 1, described as ‘peerless’ by BBC Music (*****), suggest that they are the perfect performers to reinvigorate interest in Raff’s music.

 
This second volume features the rhapsody, Abends, and a number of overtures and preludes alongside Symphony No. 5. Subtitled Lenore, the fifth is one of Raff’s so-called programme symphonies, the only one based on a precise extra-musical source: Gottfried August Bürger’s poetic ballad of the same name. The shorter works show very different sides of Raff’s compositional personality. The grandiose Overture to König Alfred reflects the heroic/romantic nature of the opera’s story while the overtures to the comic operas Dame Kobold and Die Eifersüchtigen are full of humour and high spirits. Dornröschen is an oratorio based on the famous story of Briar Rose, or The Sleeping Beauty, by the brothers Grimm and its prelude has been recorded here.
Reviews

 “… The prolific Raff is worth reviving, to judge by the inventive, vividly scored descriptive symphony on Bürger’s ballad Lenore, and one or two operatic overtures, included here and performed with great conviction by Järvi and co.”

 
David Cairns – The Sunday Times (Culture magazine) – 17 August 2014    

“…Järvi’s performance is an absolutely splendid one – both markedly more propulsive and, to my ears, more excitingly cogent than any other I have encountered, yet with no loss in terms of technical sophistication or affectionate glow. Playing of beguiling sheen also illuminates all five items with which the symphony has been most generously coupled… Chandos’s non-interventionist SACD production (which hails from Geneva’s acoustically superb Victoria Hall) wraps you in a warm cocoon of sound. Collectors with a sweet tooth will find this irresistible.”

Andrew Achenbach – Gramophone magazine – May 2014

 "... those coming to ’Leonore’  afresh should certainly make the Järvi their first option ... Both the spacious SACD sound (best played loud) and Dr Leichtling’s booklet notes are commensurate with those on the previous Chandos release, and on looks forward to the continuation of a notable series."
Richard Whitehouse - International Record Review - April 2014

 

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