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Maes: Symphony no 2, Viola Concerto / Oskamp, Flanders PO


Release Date: 08/22/1995 
Label:  Marco Polo   Catalog #: 223741   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Jef Maes
Performer:  Leo De NeveFrank Vanhove
Conductor:  Gerhard Oskamp
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Flanders Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 55 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Music for listeners with a musically sweet tooth, lustily and enthusiastically performed - Jef Maes's emotionally candid Second Symphony suggests passionate happenings on the big screen.

There is always a temptation to label lushly scored neo-romantic symphonies as 'potential film music', and yet a minute or two spent in the company of Jef Maes's emotionally candid Second Symphony inevitably suggests — at least to this listener — passionate happenings on the big screen. Maes (b.1905) was a student of the Antwerp composer and conductor Karel Candael, and calls himself a "modern romantic". The symphony's orchestration and melodic complexion seem to acknowledge both Strauss and Korngold, the lyrical first
Read more movement especially (try 203" into track I); while the alternation of sultry romance (very much a 1920-30s vintage) and energetic action music could have hailed from the pen of many a 'second league' symphonist. Maes's harmonic writing is occasionally reminiscent of Gershwin, although the second movement's foggy impressionism (dark brass and woodwinds, rhapsodizing strings) strikes far nearer our own shores (Bax, maybe), with some positively Delian writing at 414". The finale is distinguished by colourful brass writing a la Hindemith and the symphony ends in a mood of martial exuberance.

Maes's Second Symphony was dedicated "to his childhood friend and fellow student Andre Cluytens" and first performed in 1966 under Eduard Flipse (who was best known here for his notable live Mahler recordings on Philips). As an orchestral, chamber and solo violist, Macs was well equipped to compose a viola concerto and indeed his lively contribution to the genre (dating from 1956) deserves an occasional airing. Again, reverie alternates with busyness, although here Macs seems to take himself rather less seriously and the concerto is notably good-humoured. Best, perhaps, is the songful Lento that succeeds the cadenza (track 5).

The other works in the programme are both lighter in tone: a busy Ouverture concertante (which, as the annotator rightly points out, "does not contain a single concertante element") and an Arabesque and Scherzo for flute and orchestra that is more demanding on the soloist than the listener. All performances are lusty and enthusiastic; the recordings are excellent, and the documentation informative. Recommended to all post-romantics who confess a musically sweet tooth.

-- Robert Cowan, Gramophone [11/1995]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 2 by Jef Maes
Conductor:  Gerhard Oskamp
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Flanders Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; Belgium 
Date of Recording: 07/1994 
Venue:  Elisabeth Hall, Antwerp, Belgium 
Length: 22 Minutes 54 Secs. 
2.
Concerto for Viola by Jef Maes
Performer:  Leo De Neve (Viola)
Conductor:  Gerhard Oskamp
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Flanders Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; Belgium 
Date of Recording: 07/1994 
Venue:  Elisabeth Hall, Antwerp, Belgium 
Length: 16 Minutes 46 Secs. 
3.
Overture concertante by Jef Maes
Conductor:  Gerhard Oskamp
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Flanders Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1961; Belgium 
Date of Recording: 07/1994 
Venue:  Elisabeth Hall, Antwerp, Belgium 
Length: 7 Minutes 6 Secs. 
4.
Arabesque and Scherzo by Jef Maes
Performer:  Frank Vanhove (Flute)
Conductor:  Gerhard Oskamp
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Flanders Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; Belgium 
Date of Recording: 07/1994 
Venue:  Elisabeth Hall, Antwerp, Belgium 
Length: 8 Minutes 17 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 2 in A major: I. Molto moderato
Symphony No. 2 in A major: II. Tranquillo
Symphony No. 2 in A major: III. Allegro molto
Viola Concerto: I. Allegro ma non troppo
Viola Concerto: II. Cadenza: Lento
Viola Concerto: III. Finale: Allegro
Ouverture Concertante
Arabesque and Scherzo: I. Moderato
Arabesque and Scherzo: II. Scherzo

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