Ries: Complete Symphonies / Griffiths, Zurich Co

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So, the First is a minor find and the Second is at least good fun. The performances are unlikely to be bettered and the recording is warm and pleasant if a little over-reverberant (note that it was made in a church). The booklet notes, in three languages, gives a very full background to Ries and his times although they may overstate the case for the works themselves. The musically curious (all of us, I would like to think) need not hesitate.

-- Christopher Howell, MusicWeb International

The Sixth is a dramatic, harmonically rich work reminiscent of Weber, Mendelssohn, and Schumann, though at times the music's high-romantic styling and mode of expression seem to point to early Wagner (especially in the first movement) or even Bruckner (the heavy-treading scherzo and the serenely beautiful larghetto). Howard Griffiths' lively conducting and the committed and enthusiastic playing of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra make a strong case for these intriguing symphonies [4 & 6], while CPO's spacious, dynamic, and detailed recording makes this disc easily recommendable.

-- Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com

My only wish is that I had come across this composer earlier as I find both these symphonies examples of the genuine article. By that I mean strong themes, well developed, well orchestrated and balanced across the orchestra. This is coupled with a genuine sense of growth and development within the symphonic structure. Indeed if I had heard them many years ago when I was finding out about Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart etc., I am not sure that I wouldn't have rated these works up there with the other masters.

Ries wrote eight symphonies in all, and based upon the evidence of these two [7 & 8], the others should be well worth hunting out. CPO's recording is absolutely first rate and is available in SACD format, which can also be played in normal stereo. It is the latter format I listened to here, and I found that the sound quality, always first class with this company, had a slight additional bloom to the sound. Whether this is to do with the SACD mix down or just the luck of the draw, I am not sure, but there are no shortcomings with respect to the sound quality whatsoever.

I recommend this disc without reservation, and look forward to hearing the others in this superbly played, conducted and recorded series.

-- John Phillips, MusicWeb International


Product Description:


  • Release Date: November 21, 2006


  • UPC: 761203721627


  • Catalog Number: 777216-2


  • Label: Cpo


  • Number of Discs: 4


  • Composer: Ferdinand Ries


  • Conductor: Howard Griffiths


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Zurich Chamber Orchestra