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Cat. No. CHAN 10505 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10505 - Marx: Orchestral Songs and Choral Works
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Available From: 01 January 2009
The Austrian composer Joseph Marx was for much of his long career a musical authority of world renown. Within his large output, his songs were amongst his greatest musical achievements, unifying romanticism, impressionism and expressionism with revolutionary results. Many thought him the rightful successor to Hugo Wolf and yet today the name and music of Joseph Marx have fallen into obscurity.

The ‘Marx style’ is unmistakable. It is characterised by a highly personal compositional technique displaying a polyphonic harmony of full sonority, allied to masterly contrapuntal skills, and frequent key changes which occur apparently at random but are in fact distributed with utter logic. The music strikes the listener as timeless, refreshingly modern and, above all, surprising, able to exploit tonal means of expression to the full and raise the spirits of every true lover of melody.

Three works are of particular note. Herbstchor an Pan, a single-movement cantata written in 1911, lasts very nearly twenty minutes and was Marx’s first, and for many years only, orchestral composition. It has inexplicably fallen into oblivion in the past five decades. However, it has turned out to be one of the masterpieces of its entire era. Ein Neujahrshymnus (A Hymn for the New Year) is richly orchestrated and demonstrates the profound romantic vein of Joseph Marx; it is here performed for the first time in its orchestral version. This disc represents not only the first recording of Berghymne but also its world premiere performance.

We are indebted to the Marx Society for their efforts to promote this composer, and allowing the wider public to hear the outstanding quality of his works. The greatness of the music is indisputable and this recording will make for an important addition to the classical music catalogue.

Although these works are rarely done, the performers sound completely at ease with them and, where appropriate, suitably transcendent. Belohlavek guides them with a sure hand, allowing the climaxes room to expand. Chandos’s sound is at its customary high level; even in a heavily scored work like the Autumn Chorus to Pan, vocal and orchestral balances remain natural. In sum, an aural feast.
American Record Guide

The luxuriantly recorded Chandos disc is particularly welcome for featuring premiere recordings of four relatively early choral pieces… Performed here with considerable emotional conviction by Jiri Belohlavek and the massed forces of Trinity Boys Choir and the BBC Symphony Orchestra and chorus.
BBC Music Magazine


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