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Krenek:symphonic Elegy Works For Stri CD (2009)

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Performance

A 20th Century Composer Deserving Wider Attention

by Craig Zeichner on 11/6/2009

The Symphonic Elegy Ernst Krenek wrote “in memoriam Anton Webern” is the centerpiece of this recording which features Krenek’s complete music for string orchestra. Krenek considered Webern one of the most important composers in music and praised his “crystal clear perfection.” Written almost immediately after Krenek learned of Webern’s death, the work has its share of Webern-like elements but is also laced with a pained passion that reminds me of Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht. The string writing is lean and clear and the Leopoldinum Orchestra under the direction of Ernst Kovacic delivers a convincing performance. It’s surprising the work is not performed more often. The balance of the recording features works that are less substantial. The Adagio and Fugue is a string orchestra reworking of the final two movements of Krenek’s String Quartet No. 6. The ghost of Webern hovers over the excellent Adagio, but the Fugue is aimless and dull. The Five short pieces for strings, Op. 116 are top-notch with each neatly conceived movement making an emotional statement that is, in sum, more elegiac in tone than the Symphonic Elegy. The Berg-like Symphonic Pieces, Op. 86 is a real find and it surprises me that it hasn’t found a regular place in the string orchestra repertoire. The quirky Seven Easy Pieces, Op. 146 are challenging but never dull, while the driving rhythms of the Sinfonietta a Brasileira, Op. 131 fail to sustain interest. Krenek’s stark and spare string writing is perfectly served by the Leopoldinum Orchestra and this recording sheds some light on a composer who seems to have fallen out of favor of late, but deserves a closer look. By all means though, stay away from the incoherent and hideously edited liner notes which degrade this otherwise fine recording.

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Product Overview

Specifications

Label Capriccio Records/naxos
SKU 211938571
UPC 845221050331
UPC 14 00845221050331
Format CD
Release Date 9/29/2009
Links
Author Leopoldinum Orchestr
Product Attributes
Artist Leopoldinum Orchestr
Music Format Compact Disc
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A 20th Century Composer Deserving Wider Attention by Craig Zeichner on Nov 06, 2009

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