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Raff: Works For Choir, Piano & Orchestra / Quinn, Norrlands Opera Symphony Orchestra

Raff / Norrlands Opera So / Quinn
Release Date: 07/27/2010 
Label:  Sterling   Catalog #: 1089   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Joachim Raff
Performer:  Tra NguyenLena PalmquistJosefin WolvingLena Nordlund
Conductor:  Andrea Quinn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norrlands Opera Symphony OrchestraSångkraft Chamber Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The recording is great. It captures detail with fidelity down to picking up the tick of a paper snag at 00.06 in the finale of Tageszeiten. At the same time Sterling’s team do bring out a satisfyingly sensitive atmospheric nimbus...Choral societies in the know will make it their business to hear these radiant pieces and the general listener who enjoys the Brahms’ Volkslieder, Schumann's Rosepilgerfahrt or Kuhlau’s Elverhoj should lose no time in acquiring this outstanding disc.

From the time when Raff was known on record only for the Cavatina and the Fifth Symphony to now when pretty well all his orchestral works have been recorded has been about 35 years. Sterling's three CDs, of which this is the last, have moved to
Read more fill the lacunae with great style. Although German his sensibility is rather Gallic or perhaps Italian. His music can be decorative and surprisingly - at least to me - leans towards the glitter and filigree of Saint-Säens and Stojowski.

The forty minute Tageszeiten (Times of Day) was premiered in Wiesbaden in 1880. It is a poetic extravaganza for a florid and immanent solo piano, choir and orchestra. It draws deep on the German pastoral romantic vein and with delicate Chopin-like decoration constantly on flow. The superbly sung choral writing is in the winning innocent manner of Brahms’ Volkslieder. The effect is rather like a hybrid of Haydn's Jahreszeiten, Arensky’s Piano Concerto and Beethoven's Choral Fantasy also for solo piano, choir and orchestra. The finale reminded me briefly of Bruckner's Fourth The Romantic. It's all broadly the same stylistic territory. The sung words are poems by Raff's daughter Hélène. These are printed in full in the booklet with translation into English.

The recording is great. It captures detail with fidelity down to picking up the tick of a paper snag at 00.06 in the finale of Tageszeiten. At the same time Sterling’s team do bring out a satisfyingly sensitive atmospheric nimbus.

Two short pieces are placed between Tageszeiten and Die Sterne. The rapturous celebratory Morgenlied, to words by J G Jacobi, is both regal and ecstatic all in the space of just over six minutes. It’s something of an admixture of Schumann and Delius but it’s the dynamic Delius of the first section of A Mass of Life. The second brevity is Einer Entschlafenen. This is seraphic and honeyed with placid woodwind solos, part describing and part invoking the blessed rise of a departed woman's soul to divine heavenly heights.

Die Sterne is for choir and orchestra and is in five movements. It again sets words by Raff's daughter under the pseudonym of Helge Heldt. It too is a most melodious and mellifluous work in the most exalted German romantic tradition. It’s along the same axis as Brahms, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Kuhlau, Lange-Muller and Gade.

Choral societies in the know will make it their business to hear these radiant pieces and the general listener who enjoys the Brahms’ Volkslieder, Schumann's Rosepilgerfahrt or Kuhlau’s Elverhoj should lose no time in acquiring this outstanding disc.

There are a couple of typos (something of which I am also guilty): Leizig for Leipzig and the solecism, sadly not that uncommon these days, of comprised of - the 'of' is unnecessary; composed of, yes; comprised of, never. Apart from these trivia this and its two companion discs are the very model of artistic, technical and musical endeavour and generosity.

- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Die Tageszeiten, Konzertante in vier satzen, Op. 209 by Joachim Raff
Performer:  Tra Nguyen (Piano)
Conductor:  Andrea Quinn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norrlands Opera Symphony Orchestra,  Sångkraft Chamber Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
2.
Morgenlied, Op. 186a by Joachim Raff
Conductor:  Andrea Quinn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norrlands Opera Symphony Orchestra,  Sångkraft Chamber Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
3.
Einer Entschlafenden, Op. 186b by Joachim Raff
Performer:  Lena Palmquist (Mezzo Soprano), Josefin Wolving (Soprano), Lena Nordlund (Soprano)
Conductor:  Andrea Quinn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norrlands Opera Symphony Orchestra,  Sångkraft Chamber Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
4.
Die Sternen, WoO 53 by Joachim Raff
Conductor:  Andrea Quinn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norrlands Opera Symphony Orchestra,  Sångkraft Chamber Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Another premiere recording of beautiful Raff work February 2, 2012 By Jamie Weiner (Painted Post, NY) See All My Reviews "We owe Sterling a debt of gratitude for recording these beautiful heretofore unknown works by that neglected master Joachim Raff. Here we have Die Tageszeiten ("The Times of the Day"), described as a "concertante" by the composer. This is a four-movement cantata for piano, orchestra, and chorus set to words by Raff's daughter Helene depicting the various moods associated with morning, evening, and the night. The excellent Vietnamese pianist Tra Nguyen is once again accompanied by the same Swedish orchestra as in her previous Raff recording (the Suite for Piano and Orchestra). The choral writing is superb and is woven most delectably into the orchestral and piano textures. Raff's skills as a supreme melodist are once again to the fore. The next two works are brief compositions for chorus and orchestra. The first is Morgenlied ("Morning Song"), a rapturous evocation of the beginning of the day. The second is Einer Entschlafenen ("To a Woman Who Has Passed Away"), a setting of Raff's own poem which starts sorrowfully but brightens as the woman's soul ascends to heaven. Finally comes Die Sterne ("The Stars"), which is a five-movement setting of words by Helene Raff (once again) for chorus and orchestra portraying the different feelings and moods inspired by the firmament. The most beautiful of these is the fourth movement which features an extended songful melody for the french horn in A flat major. This leads to a central section in E major for the chorus and then a reprise of the beautiful A flat major melody, now in the full orchestra. BTW, Raff seemed to have a particular propensity for writing beautiful melodies in the key of A flat major--e.g., the slow movements of his 1st Orchestral Suite, the 3rd and 5th Symphonies, the Piano Concerto, the Suite for Piano and Orchestra, and finally this 4th movement of Die Sterne. I can't recommend this recording enough. If you love beautiful melody, exquisite word painting for the chorus, virtuosic piano writing, and superb orchestration, you owe it to yourself to click that "add to cart" button now. " Report Abuse
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