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Henze: Symphonies 1-6 / Henze, Berlin Phil, London Sym Orch


Release Date: 04/18/2007 
Label:  Dg 20th Century Classics Catalog #: 429854   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Hans Werner Henze
Conductor:  Hans Werner Henze
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic OrchestraLondon Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 30 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

These authoritative recordings make a welcome return. The First Symphony dates from 1947, but is heard here in the radically revised version for chamber orchestra of 1963. This formative score clearly owes much to Bartok and Stravinsky, particularly in the outer movements, and there's more than a hint of Hindemith and Busoni in the beautifully translucent texture of the central Notturno, but there are also signs of the Henze sound-world to come.

The spirit of the Second Viennese School seems to hover over the sombre and mysterious Second Symphony, where two slow movements frame a turbulent and bellicose allegro, through which some sort of concealed, dramatic narrative is played out. In Symphonies Nos. 3, 4 and 5 Henze's
Read more allegiance to theatre and opera are more fully revealed (the Fourth—originally conceived as the finale to the Second Act of his opera Konig Hirsch, the Fifth using material from Elegy for Young Lovers). The Third dates from 1949-50, when Henze was artistic director of Weisbaden Ballet and, as Robert Henderson points out in his excellent accompanying notes, could be a ballet score in all but name. In many ways this is Henze's most accessible and engaging symphony. A strong sense of orchestral colour and formal balance run throughout its three sub-titled movements—''Invocation of Apollo'', ''Dithyramb'' and ''Conjuring Dance'', and despite the obvious influence of Stravinsky in the finale dance, and the shade of Mahler appearing in the muted horn motive of the first and second movements, we find a stronger, more personal voice beginning to emerge.

The Fourth was the first of the symphonies to be written after his move to Italy, and reflects this change in as much that he breaks away from the formal rigors of the German symphonic tradition by casting the work in a single movement, divided into five sections comprising: prelude, sonata, variations, scherzo and rondo. The Fifth Symphony, for me, is the most compelling of the six. The first few bars recall the opening of the First, but thereafter, its cogent sense of structure and its imaginative colouristic scoring draw on all the experience of the intervening works.

Henze's political affiliations are heard in the confrontational Sixth Symphony written in Cuba in 1969 and scored for two fairly large chamber orchestras. This is the most radical of the symphonies, and we find Henze confronting and re-examining not only his own personal past but also the 'bourgeois' new music of the time.

The performances, under the guiding hand of the composer, are all exceptionally fine, and the recordings, dating from 1966 (the Sixth was recorded in 1972 with the LSO) have transferred to CD extremely well, with only a faint degree of analogue tape hiss.

Michael Stewart, Gramophone 12/1990
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 by Hans Werner Henze
Conductor:  Hans Werner Henze
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947/1963; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1965 
Venue:  UFA-Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 16 Minutes 37 Secs. 
2.
Symphony no 2 by Hans Werner Henze
Conductor:  Hans Werner Henze
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1965 
Venue:  UFA-Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 20 Minutes 59 Secs. 
3.
Symphony no 3 by Hans Werner Henze
Conductor:  Hans Werner Henze
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949-1950; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1965 
Venue:  UFA-Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 24 Minutes 22 Secs. 
4.
Symphony no 4 by Hans Werner Henze
Conductor:  Hans Werner Henze
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1965 
Venue:  UFA-Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 27 Minutes 55 Secs. 
5.
Symphony no 5 by Hans Werner Henze
Conductor:  Hans Werner Henze
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1962; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1965 
Venue:  UFA-Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 20 Minutes 27 Secs. 
6.
Symphony no 6 by Hans Werner Henze
Conductor:  Hans Werner Henze
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969; Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1972 
Venue:  Brent Town Hall, London 
Length: 37 Minutes 33 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Symphony no 2: II. Allegro molto vivace
Symphony no 3: I. Invocation of Apollo

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