Wetz: Symphony No 3, Gesand Des Lebens / Albert, Et Al

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Richard Wetz's ultra-conservative Third Symphony, like his second, resembles sort of a cross between Bruckner and Max Bruch. Not that this explains anything useful. One thing's for sure, though: Wetz writes beautiful music. His themes sing, stay with you when listening, and offer clearly contrasting moods and images. While never calling attention to itself in an ostentatious manner, Wetz's orchestration elucidates his musical arguments with perfect clarity and efficiency. His harmony, both diatonic and tastefully chromatic, is gorgeous. There's more than a touch of Schubert in his mixture of major and minor modes, and he knows how to use both discrete dissonance and fluid rhythms to carry his melodies across the bar lines. In short, the guy knows how to write symphonically, and if he now appears to have been born a generation or more too late (the piece dates from 1922 but sounds more like 1872), that need not concern us now.

Highlights of this work include an impressively argued opening, a truly noble slow movement that packs a Brucknerian sense of timeless spirituality into a mere 11 minutes, a scherzo full of gentle humor (with a lovely and lyrical trio), and a passionate, wholly satisfying finale that never overstays its welcome despite being more than 14 minutes long. This last, in particular, represents no small achievement in a late-Romantic symphony, and the closing pages, where Wetz decides to explore (so earnestly and so well) "The Greatest Hits from the Coda of Bruckner's Fifth", will bring a smile to the lips of every music lover. The coupling, Gesang des Lebens for chorus and orchestra, really does sound like an eight-minute-long Max Bruch wannabe (terrifying thought!), and in this case offers nothing at all memorable. However, if you're interested in music that expresses the best in the conservative German tradition, you'll find much to enjoy in this authoritatively paced, well-played, richly recorded, genuine "sleeper" of a symphony. Listen to it with respect. It really grows on you.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

Product Description:

  • Release Date: January 01, 2002

  • Catalog Number: 999818-2

  • UPC: 761203981823

  • Label: CPO

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Composer: Richard Wetz

  • Conductor: Werner Andreas Albert

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Rheinland-Pfalz State Philharmonic Orchestra, Rheinland-Pfalz Youth Choir