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Ben-Haim: Symphony No. 1; Fanfare To Israel, Symphonic Metamorphosis / Yinon, North German Radio Symphony

Ben-haim / Ndr Radiophilharmonie Hannover / Yinon
Release Date: 10/25/2011 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 777417   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Paul Ben-Haim
Conductor:  Israel Yinon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra Hannover
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

It's about time some enterprising label discovered the music of Paul Ben-Haim (1897-1984). He was a very fine composer, and these are outstanding works. The First symphony (of two) has three movements, some great ideas, and a real "symphonic" impetus and feeling of growth and development. Its slow movement is particularly gorgeous, especially just after a passionate central climax where the high solo violin is accompanied by harp, three solo violas, and gentle rustlings in the remaining strings. It's a magical moment. Ben-Haim's style might be compared to Hindemith with less clunky rhythms and a bit more consonant harmony.

The Symphonic Metamorphosis dates from the late 1960s and also recalls Hindemith to some
Read more extent, except at the climax where the jubilant reprise of the Bach chorale brings to mind Respighi (glockenspiel, triangle, and antique cymbals). Along the way, Ben-Haim offers two "recitatives", a passacaglia, and a zippy capriccio marked "lovely" in the score, which I think ought to be "lively". Fanfare for Israel is about what you'd expect for an occasional work of its type: brassy, vivid, colorful, but not annoyingly bombastic, and over in less than seven minutes.

The performances under Israel Yinon are remarkably assured given the unfamiliarity of the repertoire. The orchestra remains on its toes throughout, and this is especially impressive in the finale of the symphony, a whirlwind presto in 12/8 time that's fully up to tempo and on point. The engineering is good, but perhaps a bit dry and "studio-bound". This is an important release, with hopefully much more to come from this source.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Symphony no 1 by Paul Ben-Haim
Conductor:  Israel Yinon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra Hannover
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Israel  
2. Fanfare to Israel (Teruah Le'Israel) by Paul Ben-Haim
Conductor:  Israel Yinon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra Hannover
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Israel  
3. Symphonische Metamorphosen über den Bach Choral, Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten by Paul Ben-Haim
Conductor:  Israel Yinon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra Hannover
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Israel  

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 1: I. Allegro energico
Symphony No. 1: II. Molto calmo e cantabile
Symphony No. 1: III. Presto con fuoco
Fanfare to Israel
Symphonic Metamorphosis on a Bach Chorale

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