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Hausegger: Natursymphonie / Rasilainen, Cologne West German Radio SO

Release Date: 04/29/2008 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 777237   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Siegmund von Hausegger
Conductor:  Ari Rasilainen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio ChorusCologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 0 Hours 57 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

*** This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players. ***

If you're a fan of Mahler, Strauss, or late Romanticism in general, this disc is a must-listen. Siegmund von Hausegger (1872-1948) wrote only five orchestral works, but this 1911 "everything but the kitchen sink" hour-long extravaganza is a whopper of a piece. Scored for a generously outfitted orchestra including harps, celesta, organ, lots of percussion, and a chorus in the last movement, much of the piece sounds a lot like the "Keikobad" music in Strauss' opera Die Frau ohne Schatten--and that's a good thing. In other words, you might describe it as "darkly
Read more glittering", in that Hausegger's basic sonority includes lots of warm lower strings and deep brass, German style, gilded with harp, celesta, high woodwinds, and percussion. The result often has a primal feel that justifies the symphony's title.

That said, there is nothing overtly pictorial about the music. The second movement, a funeral march that would have made Mahler proud, is perhaps the most impressive single section, while the piece closes with a typically Teutonic chorus about the sacred and infinite wonderfulness of creativity (or words to that effect). To be honest, the symphony doesn't really need the choral finale, but it's only 10 minutes long out of an hour, and it does build to an impressively rousing concluding peroration--brass and organ well to the fore.

One thing is certain: right from the opening brass calls, Ari Rasilainen leads a remarkably confident and urgent interpretation of this difficult and unfamiliar work. Everyone involved seems to have realized that the music deserves the best they have to offer, and the engineering captures it all with plenty of impact in both SACD and normal stereo. In short, this is a real discovery.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com [3/13/2008]
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Works on This Recording

Natursymphonie by Siegmund von Hausegger
Conductor:  Ari Rasilainen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Chorus,  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 In The Manner of Mahler/Strauss March 2, 2013 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "In my opinion, Austrian composer Sigmund von Hausegger's massive 'Natursymphonie' is either a 'Love it' or 'Hate it' proposition, with not much room in between these extremes (why does this bring to mind reactions to Wagner?). Like Richard Strauss' huge Alpine Symphony, this work employs an enormous orchestra in order to paint a vast musical picture of nature's inner soul. Further, I was reminded of Gustav Mahler while listening to the Hausegger work, especially Mahler's Resurrection Symphony. Following the initial tumultuous movements, Hausegger scores the final movement for chorus and orchestra in a powerful seal of benediction on the entire work, as did Mahler. There is a lot of metaphysics packed into this work, as well as a teleological aspect, again like Mahler, in that the core musical message is the idea of an aesthetic end state, in Hausegger's case the promise of a final and eternal union between pure nature and human artistic inspiration. This music requires serious listening and repeated hearings to grasp and appreciate Hausegger's message, but it is worth the effort. I also recommend a through review of the CD booklet's rather complex discussion of Hausegger and his world view. All in all, this is a powerful composition, wonderfully performed by Cologne's WDR Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. As a hybrid, multi-channel SACD, this should provide awesome results on a modern SACD system. Unfortunately, I only have a conventional stereo system, but Hausegger's music still sounded great. If you like the large-scale works of the late and post-Romantic German repertoire, Hausegger's Nature Symphony should be right up your alley. On the other hand, if this genre of classical music doesn't quite click with you, to quote a well known adage- Exercise Extreme Caution!" Report Abuse
 Nature Writ Large March 29, 2012 By Donald J O'Connor (Kreamer, PA) See All My Reviews "Die Natursymphonie (1911) is Hausegger's finest work. Eugoen Jochum, a Hausegger protege, did the work before WW II, but this is the first recording ever, and it's an ideal inroduction to a lost master. Rasilainen has the complete measure of this grandiose post-Romantic symphony and the performance is confident and sympathetic, with none of the hesitation one sometimes hears in unfamiliar repertoire. The musical idiom is roughly that of the Mahler 7th, with a grandiose choral conclusion. CPO allegedly plans to do Hausegger's Wieland der Schmied and Barbarossa; it can't be soon enough. Barbarossa is the best tone poem Bruckner never wrote. I only hope these do well enough for cpo to complete Hausegger's symphonic output with his Dionysian Fantasia and Aufklaenge (Resonances) Variations. In sum, more treasure from the apparently bottomless vault of German post-Romanticism." Report Abuse
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