WORKS: Symphony in D minor; Maiblumen blühten überall; Waldgespräch; Frühlingsbegräbnis
PERFORMER: Edith Mathis (soprano), Roland Hermann (baritone)North German RSO & Chorus/ Antony Beaumont
CATALOGUE NO: 10 740
Zemlinsky’s D minor Symphony, written in 1892-3 while the composer was still a student of JN Fuchs at the Vienna Conservatoire, attracted the attention of Brahms, who offered financial help to the young Zemlinsky (who declined it) and secured the publication of his Piano Trio, Op. 3, with his own publisher, Simrock. The Symphony, which owes its premiere recording to the investigative skills of conductor Antony Beaumont, is clearly indebted to Brahms, although the accomplished slow movement echoes the expanses and sublimity of Bruckner.
Beaumont is also responsible for saving the incomplete Maiblumen blühten überall from undeserved oblivion. This setting for soprano and string sextet of part of Richard Dehmel’s Die Magd was abandoned by Zemlinsky and its exact date is unknown, though suggested by Beaumont to be c1903. It is no coincidence that Zemlinsky chose to set Dehmel, author of Weib und Welt, the programme of Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, and unsurprisingly there are musical links between the two works. Although some of the music’s expressive power is lost in this performance through the orchestration, the text is eloquently delivered by Edith Mathis. Deborah Calland