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Ries: Complete Symphonies / Griffiths, Zurich Co


Release Date: 11/21/2006 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 777216   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ferdinand Ries
Conductor:  Howard Griffiths
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

So, the First is a minor find and the Second is at least good fun. The performances are unlikely to be bettered and the recording is warm and pleasant if a little over-reverberant (note that it was made in a church). The booklet notes, in three languages, gives a very full background to Ries and his times although they may overstate the case for the works themselves. The musically curious (all of us, I would like to think) need not hesitate.

-- Christopher Howell, MusicWeb International

The Sixth is a dramatic, harmonically rich work reminiscent of Weber, Mendelssohn, and Schumann, though at times the music's high-romantic styling and mode of expression seem to point to early Wagner (especially in the first
Read more movement) or even Bruckner (the heavy-treading scherzo and the serenely beautiful larghetto). Howard Griffiths' lively conducting and the committed and enthusiastic playing of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra make a strong case for these intriguing symphonies [4 & 6], while CPO's spacious, dynamic, and detailed recording makes this disc easily recommendable.

-- Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com

My only wish is that I had come across this composer earlier as I find both these symphonies examples of the genuine article. By that I mean strong themes, well developed, well orchestrated and balanced across the orchestra. This is coupled with a genuine sense of growth and development within the symphonic structure. Indeed if I had heard them many years ago when I was finding out about Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart etc., I am not sure that I wouldn't have rated these works up there with the other masters.

Ries wrote eight symphonies in all, and based upon the evidence of these two [7 & 8], the others should be well worth hunting out. CPO's recording is absolutely first rate and is available in SACD format, which can also be played in normal stereo. It is the latter format I listened to here, and I found that the sound quality, always first class with this company, had a slight additional bloom to the sound. Whether this is to do with the SACD mix down or just the luck of the draw, I am not sure, but there are no shortcomings with respect to the sound quality whatsoever.

I recommend this disc without reservation, and look forward to hearing the others in this superbly played, conducted and recorded series.

-- John Phillips, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 in D major, Op. 23 by Ferdinand Ries
Conductor:  Howard Griffiths
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1822; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1999 
Venue:  Neumünster Church, Zurich, Switzerland 
2.
Symphony no 2 in C minor, Op. 80 by Ferdinand Ries
Conductor:  Howard Griffiths
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1822; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1999 
Venue:  Neumünster Church, Zurich, Switzerland 
3.
Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op 90 by Ferdinand Ries
Conductor:  Howard Griffiths
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1815; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1997 
Venue:  Radio Studio, Zurich, Switzerland 
4.
Symphony no 5 in D minor, Op 112 by Ferdinand Ries
Conductor:  Howard Griffiths
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1822; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1997 
Venue:  Radio Studio, Zurich, Switzerland 
5.
Symphony no 4, Op. 110 by Ferdinand Ries
Conductor:  Howard Griffiths
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1822; Germany 
Date of Recording: 2001 
Venue:  Neumünster Church, Zurich, Switzerland 
6.
Symphony no 6 in D major, Op. 146 by Ferdinand Ries
Conductor:  Howard Griffiths
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1822; London, England 
Date of Recording: 2001 
Venue:  Neumünster Church, Zurich, Switzerland 
7.
Symphony no 7, Op 181 by Ferdinand Ries
Conductor:  Howard Griffiths
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Germany 
Date of Recording: 2002 
Venue:  Neumünster Church, Zurich, Switzerland 
8.
Symphony no 8, WoO 30 by Ferdinand Ries
Conductor:  Howard Griffiths
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1822; Germany 
Date of Recording: 2002 
Venue:  Neumünster Church, Zurich, Switzerland 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Outstanding!! April 7, 2013 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "CPO has devoted considerable attention to the works of German composer Ferdinand Ries, whose musical career encompassed the early decades of the 19th century. I have previously submitted several highly positive comments on Ries' excellent chamber music on CPO, as well as the superb Naxos series of his piano concertos. The CPO release under consideration here is a 4 disk compilation of Herr Ries' eight symphonies, played by Switzerland's Zurich Chamber Orchestra under the direction of conductor Howard Griffiths. Composed over a period of approximately 25 years, Ries' symphonies (like early Beethoven, his contemporary) stand on the borderline between the late Classical and early Romantic periods. Listening to the complete series is highly instructive, in that it demonstrates Ries' growing maturity and confidence as a composer of very high quality symphonies. In brief, the early symphonies (#1, 2, 3, and possibly 5) are relatively light in ambiance, are very energetic, full of melody, and characterized by an expressive style that struck me as somewhat disjunctive in the manner of Franz Schubert- sweet melodic passages interspersed and interrupted with brassy orchestral outbursts in rapid succession, all played at an accelerated tempo. Thus, although Ferdinand Ries is often linked with his mentor Beethoven, I couldn't help sensing a strong stylistic similarity to Schubert in these earlier works. Symphony # 4, on the other hand, gives a hint about what the later Ries symphonies would feature- more sophisticated thematic development, a steadier orchestral line, and above all a glowing, exhilarating melodic sheen to the entire compositions. Symphonies # 6 and 7 further develop this more mature phase, and I would even go so far as to characterize all these symphonies (# 4,6, 7, and 8) as orchestral 'tours de force' within the boundaries of the early Romantic symphonic genre. Symphony # 8, numerically standing as Ries' final symphony, is actually a work composed over a decade before # 7, and the CD booklet notes explain that the numbering of Ries' symphonies is based on publication dates, rather than actual composition dates. In summary, Ferdinand Ries' symphonies are wonderful examples of the glorious orchestral music composed during the early 19th century. The steadily increasing sophistication and complexity evident in Ries' symphonies clearly represent a composer steadily emerging as a major force in European music. Thus, what an absolute shame it is that Ries is so little known or played these days! Finally, a word about the performances themselves, and here again superlatives are fully in order. The Zurich Chamber Orchestra is a fabulous ensemble, with the ability to play delicate, emotionally engaging music as well as ultra-fast, racehorse style 'con fuoco' passages that abound in Ries' engaging contrapuntal structures in a way that seems child's play. Want proof? Just listen to conductor Howard Griffiths direct his forces into overdrive to bring Symphonies # 4, 6, 7, and 8 (as well as the early ones) to exhilerating conclusions. CPO has again provided its customary world-class audio engineering to these recordings, and as an added bonus, the disk containing Symphonies # 7 and # 8 is a hybrid, multi-channel SACD, certain to provide positively stunning sound to anyone with a multi-channel SACD playback system. In my opinion, this superb CPO set is essential listening for any classical music fan of the great German symphonic tradition of the early 19th century. Ferdinand Ries was a major composer whose compositional excellence extends across chamber music, concertos, and symphonies. I cannot imagine any serious music lover not enjoying and benefiting from the highly rewarding listening experience that is provided throughout the entire collection. Try it, and you'll not be disappointed. Absolutely recommended!!!" Report Abuse
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