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L. Glass: 6 Symphonies / Todorov, Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra


Release Date: 08/17/2018 
Label:  Danacord   Catalog #: DACOCD541-544  
Composer:  Louis Glass
Performer:  Romeo Smilkov
Conductor:  Nayden Todorov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 4 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Louis Glass was a contemporary of Carl Nielsen, however his musical ideals were of the late-Romantic idiom. Like Nielsen he composed six symphonies, but as a composer he was a dreamer and his lush, brilliantly orchestrated works hark back to a time when modernism had no influence. This is the first complete recording of the six symphonies which were played frequently in Denmark, but vanished into the mist of a forgotten world. The splendid Bulgarian orchestra easily identifies with Glass’ musical sound world, stretching back and absorbing the style of the early Richard Strauss. These symphonies were recorded between October 1999 and August 2000, and feature the Plodiv Philharmonic led by renowned conductor Nayden Todorov.

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REVIEW:

Glass creates music that luxuriates in rich, late-romantic harmonies and modes of expression, and while it may not be especially challenging intellectually, it always pleases by virtue of its conventional beauty. Symphony No. 3 (1901) is a case in point. Composed a year before Mahler’s path-breaking Fifth Symphony, it occupies a sound-world similar to Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, with a first movement main theme who’s harmonic contour brings to mind the old “My Favorite Martian” TV theme. The subtitle “Wood Symphony” refers not to planks or boards, but to the scherzo’s woodland meadow in which Glass’ imaginary protagonist finds himself lost. The big, dramatic finale explores even more sounds and moods of the forest before concluding with a triumphant reprise of the first movement’s main theme.

Symphony No. 6 (1924) was Glass’ last, and it’s apparent that during the years following the Third Symphony Glass developed a more advanced, if still not modernist, compositional technique. The old romantic colors and gestures are in place, but now they are informed by contact with the music of Stravinsky (among others), whose influence is discernible in the short scherzo’s canonic writing.

It’s clear that conductor Nayden Todorov believes in Glass’ music and he gets committed playing from the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra. Adventurous collectors need not hesitate in making acquaintance of these works.

– ClassicsToday (Victor Carr Jr.) Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 4 in E minor, Op. 43 by Louis Glass
Conductor:  Nayden Todorov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910-1911; Denmark 
2.
Symphony no 3 in D major, Op. 30 "Wood Symphony" by Louis Glass
Conductor:  Nayden Todorov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1900-1901; Denmark 
3.
Symphony no 5 in C major, Op. 57 "Sinfonia Svastica" by Louis Glass
Conductor:  Nayden Todorov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1919; Denmark 
4.
Symphony no 2 in C minor, Op. 28 by Louis Glass
Conductor:  Nayden Todorov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; Denmark 
5.
Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 47 by Louis Glass
Performer:  Romeo Smilkov (Piano)
Conductor:  Nayden Todorov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; Denmark 
6.
Symphony no 1 in E major, Op. 17 by Louis Glass
Conductor:  Nayden Todorov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; Denmark 
7.
Symphony no 6, Op. 60 "Birth of the Scydlings" by Louis Glass
Conductor:  Nayden Todorov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1926; Denmark 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Beautiful symphonies; dismal playing September 5, 2018 By Miles R. (Cambridge, MA) See All My Reviews "At the present time, this set is the only commercially available complete set of recordings of the symphonies of Louis Glass. For a long time, there were no other recordings of any of symphonies of Glass, with the exception of a disc of nos. 5 and 6 on the Marco Polo label (if you could find a copy). During those years, if you wanted to listen to Glass's symphonies, you had nowhere to go but to these recordings. And to do so was exasperating. Such beautiful music, but such ugly playing! I have heard many an amateur orchestra with a more refined sound than the Plovdiv Philharmonic. Luckily, CPO has begun to issue a series of recordings of the Glass symphonies with Daniel Raskin conducting a far superior ensemble. Unluckily, only two of the symphonies, nos. 3 and 5, have appeared so far. So if you are drawn by the beauty of Glass's compositions, as well you should be, you may have to suffer the coarse playing of this obscure Bulgarian orchestra." Report Abuse
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