WORKS: Symphony No. 7 (Storm); Klein Idas Blumen; Gespräche mit dem Tod; Jahrmarkt bei London
PERFORMER: Susanne Resmark (mezzo-soprano); Odense SO/Jan Wagner
CATALOGUE NO: 8.224183
It may appear a somewhat provocative gesture on the part of a composer working in Nazi Germany to openly declare that his most recent music utilised 12-note technique. Yet the Storm Symphony of 1941 by the Danish-born Paul von Klenau would hardly have ruffled too many official feathers at the time, its traditional four-movement structure and tonally orientated dodecaphonic melodic patterns seeming stylistically closer to Bruckner than to Schoenberg. Fortunately, the adherence to a specific compositional technique proves less inhibiting than in the almost contemporary and decidedly four-square Fifth Symphony, featured on an earlier Dacapo release, and Jan Wagner and the highly competent Odense Symphony Orchestra make a particularly convincing case for the darkly scored slow movement.
The rest of the disc offers works that date from a much earlier period. I was especially drawn to the impressive quasi-Mahlerian cycle Gespräche mit dem Tod of 1916 which makes a considerable impact courtesy of Susanne Resmark’s wonderfully warm and emotionally charged singing. By contrast, the curious impressionist Jahrmarkt bei London (subtitled ‘Bank Holiday – Souvenir of Hampstead Heath’) outstays its welcome, though one cannot help but admire Klenau’s highly apposite orchestral palette for the opening section depicting a dull foggy morning on the heath. Erik Levi