Raff: Symphony No. 3; Symphony No. 4

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LABELS: Hyperion Helios
WORKS: Symphony No. 3; Symphony No. 4
PERFORMER: Milton Keynes City Orchestra/Hilary Davan Wetton
CATALOGUE NO: CDH 55017 Reissue (1993)
Overshadowed in his day (1822-82) by the giants Wagner, Liszt and Brahms, Ratt suffered the one-work problem (a Cavatina for piano), yet wrote much more, including 11 symphonies. Nos 3 and 5 are known to record collectors if not concertgoers. Hyperion, Davan Wetton and the MKCO have done him a favour with this disc. Oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn and cello solos in the Andantes are beautifully played, violins cope admirably with tough passages; there’s a hint of the recitative from Beethoven’s Ninth, a sea-shanty in No. 4’s Finale and Mendelssohn in the scherzos. The Tchaikovskian Finale of No. 3 is not quite up to the rest. Christopher Fifield