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Toch: Complete Symphonies / Francis, Berlin Radio So


Release Date: 04/18/2006 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 777191   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ernst Toch
Conductor:  Alun Francis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 16 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



TOCH Symphonies: Nos. 1?7 ? Alun Francis, cond; Berlin RSO ? cpo 777 191 (3 CDs: 195:47)


This set combines three separately issued CDs of Ernst Toch?s Symphonies, which were recorded and released over a wide span of years: 1995?2002. Only the jewel case and the price have changed: this three-CD set sells for less than twice the price of each original CD. Even the three original booklets are included here. Joanne Forman and I each reviewed Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6 in Read more style="font-style:italic">Fanfare 20: 6. Paul A. Snook reviewed Nos. 2 and 3 in 24:5, and he and I each discussed the final installment in 28:1.


So you probably don?t need to be told, for a sixth time, that Toch (1887?1964) was a major composer in pre-World War II Germany who fled Hitler in 1934 and languished in Hollywood for well over a decade. Newly invigorated, he wrote all seven symphonies in his final 15 years. Hearing them all together, and in order, is both rewarding and revealing: Toch was a self-trained master who went his own way, without paying much attention to conventional forms or systems. The first three are gargantuan in reach if not in scale: tough, dense music sheathed in dissonant harmonies that can also relax into moments of sheer beauty. The Second Symphony tightens up the gentler, prolix First, and the Third?Toch?s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece?concentrates the music into white-hot passion. This is my kind of music: high-voltage Hindemith, brash Prokofiev, and a smidgeon of Berg, but all Toch, all the time. The final four symphonies ease up on the pedal, becoming gradually lighter and, by No. 6, wittier. By a narrow margin, each symphony is shorter in performance than its predecessor. Just as Toch?s string quartets portray his music in Germany (even though the last two were written here), the symphonies define his American output. For all the details, dig out those earlier reviews, which will also be available on www.fanfaremag.com in the not-too-distant future.


Alun Francis, his Berlin Radio Symphony, and cpo all do an excellent job. The cited reviews considered the few earlier recordings, but only William Steinberg?s Pittsburgh Third (EMI 65868) is superior. One can imagine one of the world?s great orchestras doing even more justice to this intriguing cycle in the future, but don?t hold your breath.


FANFARE: James H. North
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1, Op. 72 by Ernst Toch
Conductor:  Alun Francis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951-1952; USA 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 39 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Notes: Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany (1995 - 2002) 
2.
Symphony no 2, Op. 73 by Ernst Toch
Conductor:  Alun Francis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; USA 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 32 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Notes: Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany (1995 - 2002) 
3.
Symphony no 3, Op. 75 by Ernst Toch
Conductor:  Alun Francis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; USA 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 27 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Notes: Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany (1995 - 2002) 
4.
Symphony no 4, Op. 80 by Ernst Toch
Conductor:  Alun Francis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 26 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Notes: Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany (1995 - 2002) 
5.
Symphony no 5, Op. 89 "Jephtha" by Ernst Toch
Conductor:  Alun Francis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; USA 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 23 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Notes: Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany (1995 - 2002) 
6.
Symphony no 6, Op. 93 by Ernst Toch
Conductor:  Alun Francis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; USA 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 22 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Notes: Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany (1995 - 2002) 
7.
Symphony no 7, Op. 95 by Ernst Toch
Conductor:  Alun Francis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964; USA 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 22 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Notes: Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany (1995 - 2002) 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Many faceted symphonies November 23, 2011 By William Coburn (Basking Ridge, NJ) See All My Reviews "There is great variety in the symphonies of Ernst Toch; for example, the second has a theme that sounds like what Eric Korngold might have written, but then it morphs into something more astringent. I played the fifth, the "Jephta," on an Easter morning a few years ago and found the work beautiful and moving. The third, which won the Pulitzer Prize, is a delightfully quirky work that uses some very unusual instruments. These are the works of a composer who is not shallow and predictable.


"
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