Hartmann: Symphony No. 1; Symphony No. 2; Symphony No. 3; Symphony No. 4; Symphony No. 5; Symphony No. 6; Symphony No. 7; Symphony No. 8

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COMPOSERS: Hartmann
LABELS: EMI
WORKS: Symphony No. 1; Symphony No. 2; Symphony No. 3; Symphony No. 4; Symphony No. 5; Symphony No. 6; Symphony No. 7; Symphony No. 8
PERFORMER: Cornelia Kallisch (alto), Arno Bornkamp (saxophone); Bamberg SO/Ingo Metzmacher
CATALOGUE NO: CDS 5 56911 2 Reissue (1993-7)
This fine survey of Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s symphonies – the core of his achievement – has been devotedly recorded over the last seven years by Metzmacher and the Bamberg orchestra. All of the eight numbered symphonies reached their final form after 1945, though all but the final two are derived from earlier works, for at the end of the Second World War Hartmann felt the need to purge the music he composed during the Thirties of its historical and political references, and perhaps to re-evaluate it in the light of his wartime studies with Webern, though the dense chromaticism and yearning expressiveness are much closer to the world of early Berg than to that of his teacher. The symphonies are all powerfully wrought works, which speak with an individual voice; now the best possible sequel to this important set would be a recording of Hartmann’s only opera, Simplicius simplicissimus. Andrew Clements

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