Kurt Hessenberg: Concerto for orchestra, Symphony No. 2 (2001)
01-03 Concerto No. 1 for orchestra (1938) 04-07 Symphony No. 2 in A-major (1943)
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Leland Sun
Kurt Hessenberg (1908-1994) | cassandrarecords.com | wikipedia
Kurt Hessenberg was a German composer. He studied in Leipzig (1927-31) with Günther Raphael (composition) and Robert Teichmüller (piano), and in 1933 he was appointed to teach at the Hoch Conservatory (later known as the ‘Musikhochschule’) in Frankfurt. He remained there throughout his career, and was made professor in 1953. All major genres have been represented in his oeuvre of 135 opus numbers consisting of 4 symphonies, numerous other orchestral and concerto works, an abundant variety of chamber music, a body of organ compositions, a wealth of choral and vocal works, and an opera. Possessing great facility in composition, Hessenberg evolved an effective idiom that draws from a rich musical heritage but is in no way confined by it. He combines a fluent contrapuntal skill (developed from his love of Baroque music) with a quite individual tonal harmonic style. His slow movements have a delicately woven poetry, together with – in his music for voices – a very smooth melodic line. Among the many awards made to him were the National Composition Prize (1940), the Robert Schumann Prize given by the city of Düsseldorf (1951), 2 Goethe Plaques, one given by the city of Frankfurt (1973) and the other by the government of Hesse (1979), and the Order of Merit first-class of the German Federal Republic (1989).
... After Furtwängler’s enthusiastic championing of Hessenberg’s Concerto for Orchestra, the great maestro kept in close contact with the young composer, offering him advice and encouragement and being watchful of his artistic development. When Furtwängler saw the score of the composer’s Second Symphony four years later, he became even more impressed than before, and expressed an overwhelming interest not only in presenting the world premiere of this work, but also in conducting it "everywhere I have an opportunity of doing so – primarily, that is, in Berlin and Vienna.” The bulk of the composition for this work was completed in 1943, and the premiere by Furtwängler and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra took place, in spite of wartime difficulties, on December 10, 1944, and the program repeated the next day, at the Admiralspalast in Berlin. The critical reception was overwhelming in praise of the new work. The performance was recorded for broadcast, but the tape has never surfaced over the years and is presumed lost. Sadly, Furtwängler’s intention of further performances of the Symphony never came to fruition. The work received a second interpretation by Otto Winkler in 1947 in Koblenz. Besides these, the work’s publisher Schott has no record of other performances, although it notes that its records from that period are far from being complete. Therefore, this masterpiece may have lain dormant for more than half a century.
... This Kurt Hessenberg CD was selected as one of the five best recordings of 2001 on reviewer Paul Snook’s "Want List” in Fanfare Magazine (Nov-Dec 2001) and was awarded a "Star of the Month” by the German publication Fono Forum (Nov 2001).
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