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Jan Van Gilse: Symphony No. 4 / Porcelijn, Netherlands Symphony Orchestra

Van Gilse / Netherlands Sym Orch / Porcelijn
Release Date: 10/30/2012 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 777689   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Jan Van Gilse
Conductor:  David Porcelijn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

GILSE Symphony No. 4 in A. Funeral Music on the Death of Uilenspiegel. Concert Overture in c David Porcelijn, cond; Netherlands SO CPO 777689 (62:33)

CPO here continues apace with its survey of Jan van Gilse’s symphonies. Details of the composer’s life and descriptions of his music can be found in reviews of his first three symphonies in 32:2 and 36:2. The Fourth Symphony in A Major occupied Gilse from 1910 to 1915, and appears to be his last Read more fully completed symphony; only a fragment of a Fifth exists, dating from 1922, and since the composer lived for another 22 years after that, it has to be assumed that it wasn’t death that prevented him from completing it. The Concert Overture in C Minor has received a previous recording by Jac van Steen conducting the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra on an NM CD. It was reviewed in 31:5.

If you acquired one or both of David Porcelijn’s CPO recordings of Gilse’s first three symphonies, you’ll know what to expect of the Fourth, and there’s really not a lot to add. This is well-made music in high romantic style. Commenting on the First Symphony in 32:2, David H. North pegged it as Dvo?ák’s No. 4-1/3. Gilse has advanced considerably beyond Dvo?ák in his Fourth Symphony, but considering its date of composition, it’s still a decade or so behind its time. The most pervasive influence on the score, even more so than on Gilse’s Third Symphony, is Richard Strauss. The music is shot through with much of the same orchestral busyness—the flashes, splashes, and dashes of luminous colors—and the long-arching passages of melodic and harmonic nostalgia familiar from Strauss’s tone poems. If Gilse’s First Symphony was Dvo?ák’s No. 4-1/3, his Fourth Symphony is Strauss’s Don Juanenspiegel.

The Strauss connection is literary as well as musical. In 1941, during the German occupation of Holland, Gilse composed his Funeral Music on the Death of Uilenspiegel , the flip side, if you will, of Strauss’s Till . This, for Gilse, was how things ended for the legendary merry prankster. The music now anticipates the Strauss of Metamorphosen of four years later. If this and previous reviews have not taken Gilse very seriously, his Funeral Music is a score that commands serious attention and perhaps a re-evaluation of his work as a whole. The piece actually was extracted from a section of Gilse’s opera Thijl and then expanded to stand as an independent orchestral work. The Concert Overture of 1900 is Gilse’s first attempt at a piece for orchestra and it, like the First Symphony, contains echoes of Dvo?ák.

Of the three CPO discs released so far in this series, I find myself most impressed by this one. Performance and recording standards remain very high, and this is music anyone who enjoys beautifully crafted and magnificently scored orchestral music of the type and style described will derive much pleasure from. Strongly recommended.

FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 4 in A major by Jan Van Gilse
Conductor:  David Porcelijn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Symphony Orchestra
Funeral Music on the Death of Uilenspiegel by Jan Van Gilse
Conductor:  David Porcelijn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Symphony Orchestra
Concert Overture in C minor by Jan Van Gilse
Conductor:  David Porcelijn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Symphony Orchestra

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Worthy Dutch Orchestral Works March 26, 2013 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "The Netherlands Symphony Orchestra is an outstanding ensemble, as it demonstrates on this CPO disk of orchestral music by Dutch composer Jan van Gilse. Symphony # 4, Funeral Music on the Death of Uilenspiegel, and Concert Overture in C Minor are the featured works here. I found this program to be of solid quality, especially the impressive Concert Overture. I do think that Symphony # 4 is not quite at the level of van Gilse's very excellent previous symphonies (on which I have commented previously). It's not that the sound quality is substandard- it is in fact excellent. What seemed to be missing was a sense of overall coherence, and I struggled to find a consistent theme in this work. Having said that, Symphony # 4 is certainly easy to listen to, as it is tonal and does not go to dynamic extremes. Anyone interested in unfamiliar post-Romantic European orchestral music should consider this CPO recording. Van Gilse set very high standards in the previous CPO releases of his music. This particular recording came close to the others, but was just slightly off van Gilse's 'A Game' in the symphony." Report Abuse
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