Burger: Orchestral Music
Click on cover for high-resolution image
£8.50 to Discovery Club members
(member discounts on MP3s also)

Price includes postage and packing

Comment on this album

Julius Burger: Orchestral Music

Catalogue Number: TOCC0001
EAN: 5060113440013
Release Date: 26 June 2007
Duration: 78:22

Recorded in the presence of the composer

Stille der Nacht
Scherzo for Strings
Cello Concerto
Variations on a Theme of C. P. E. Bach
Legende

Michael Kraus, baritone
Maya Beiser, cello
Radio Symphonie Orchester, Berlin, orchestra
Simone Young, conductor

Julius Burger, born in Vienna in 1897, studied with Franz Schreker in Berlin in the 1920s, establishing a successful career as conductor and accompanist before the advent of Hitler sent him into US exile in 1938; he died in New York in 1995. His music – in which one can hear something of Schreker and Korngold, his exact contemporary, as well as echoes of Mahler and Zemlinsky – shows a mastery of the late-Romantic orchestra. The two songs on this CD display an exquisite sense of melody, and his Cello Concerto – the slow movement of which was dedicated to his mother, who was murdered on her way to Auschwitz – shares with Bloch’s Schelomo a concern with Jewish melisma.

Booklet texts (PDF)

Track Listing, MP3 Downloads and Streaming Samples

Track No. Track Title / Details Duration Sample Add to Cart
1 Stille der Nacht, for baritone and orchestra (1919)

Julius Burger, composer
Michael Kraus, baritone
Radio Symphonie Orchester, Berlin, orchestra
Simone Young, conductor

(first recording)
10:55 play
2 Scherzo for Strings (1939)

Julius Burger, composer
Radio Symphonie Orchester, Berlin, orchestra
Simone Young, conductor

(first recording)
5:03 play
3-5 Cello Concerto (1938)

Julius Burger, composer
Maya Beiser, cello
Radio Symphonie Orchester, Berlin, orchestra
Simone Young, conductor

(first recording)
31:15
3 I. Allegro 9:48 play
4 II. Adagio 10:07 play
5 III. Allegro vivace 11:20 play
6-18 Variations on a Theme of Karl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1945)

Julius Burger, composer
Radio Symphonie Orchester, Berlin, orchestra
Simone Young, conductor

(first recording)
18:25
6 Theme, Andante grazioso 1:16 play
7 Variation I, Energico 1:28 play
8 Variation II, Allegro moderato 0:51 play
9 Variation III, Lento 0:48 play
10 Variation IV, Presto alla breve 1:08 play
11 Variation V, Giusto tempo 2:02 play
12 Variation VI, Vivace 0:43 play
13 Variation VII, Andante sostenuto 2:25 play
14 Variation VIII, Allegretto, grazioso 0:40 play
15 Variation IX, Allegro 0:50 play
16 Variation X, Adagio 2:27 play
17 Variation XI, Scherzo (Presto) 1:11 play
18 Coda, Solenne 2:36 play
19 Legende, for baritone and orchestra (1919)

Julius Burger, composer
Michael Kraus, baritone
Radio Symphonie Orchester, Berlin, orchestra
Simone Young, conductor

(first recording)
12:44 play

Artists

Julius Burger

Julius Burger, composer

Michael Kraus

Michael Kraus, baritone

Maya Beiser

Maya Beiser, cello

Radio Symphonie Orchester Berlin

Radio Symphonie Orchester, Berlin, orchestra
[credit: Franz Schlechter]

Simone Young

Simone Young, conductor

Reviews

Review

Patric Standford Music & Vision 16th February 2008

Review

Bob McQuiston Classical Lost and Found 15th January 2008

Review

Jonathan Woolf MusicWeb International January 2008

Julius Burger had a long life: he died in New York in 1995 aged 98. Burger was born in Vienna (as Bürger) and it will come as no surprise that the rise of the Nazis forced him, like so many others, to seek refuge elsewhere. Burger – composer, conductor, pianist and arranger – spent his last 60 years in the United States, his original compositions only coming to performance very late in his life when these recordings were made. Good to know that Burger was at these sessions; he would at least have known that some of his music was destined for a larger audience.

Two works for baritone and orchestra frame the CD’s contents. Both are from circa 1919 and both are astonishingly beautiful pieces: eloquent, deeply felt, and full of imagery. Admirers of Wagner, Mahler, Korngold and Berg will be enraptured by Burger’s glorious word-settings (“Stille der Nacht” to a text by Gottfried Keller, “Legende” by Christian Morgenstern). “Stille der Nacht” begins with a ‘lonely’ flute solo that immediately works its magic, the opening bars also peering into the very specific (and wonderful) world of Busoni’s (contemporaneous) “Doktor Faust” (especially its ‘Sarabande’). Both settings are vivid and imaginative, superbly orchestrated, and beautifully sung by Michael Kraus. Two real discoveries; enchanted and richly expressive.

But then everything here is inspired: begging the question as to how a composer of Burger’s undoubted quality and craft could be overlooked for so long – not least in America where Burger himself was active as a multi-talented musician (including at the Metropolitan Opera). Scherzo for Strings is a tightly organised yet expansive rhythmic treat – which admirers of Frank Bridge’s music might find some parallels with. And the Bach Variations (for Karl read Carl) – probably written in 1945 – bring a Schoenberg-like transformation of the innocent Theme, a series of deft commentaries of flighty imagination, every bit as good as Reger’s (a compliment!) and offering a full gamut of possibilities, all touched in with Burger’s distinct personality.

The Cello Concerto (1938) is expansive (31 minutes, although the annotation is awry with movement-timings here: they are approximately 10, 10 and 11). The first movement is marked Allegro, but begins slowly and pensively; lyrical music that speaks directly to the listener. The Allegro brings lucid musical thought, quite personal yet part of tradition and always engaging. The rapt slow movement is the concerto’s heart (dedicated a few years after composition by Burger to his mother “murdered on September 28 1942 in Auschwitz”) – a profound response to such events (even if composed beforehand) – and the finale, rather ingeniously, continues where the first movement left off, to complete a masterly work that really demands to be heard.

Waiting for over a decade for these first recordings to be released is a crying shame – it seems that as Sony BMG is credited that this is a project that got lost or was suppressed. It is then a real coup for Toccata Classics to be issuing this notable music. The comprehensive annotation, photographs, first-class sound (capturing ideally Burger’s luminous scoring) and the wholly excellent performances further ensure that this issue gets a ‘record of the year’ status. No question!

Colin Anderson Classical Source

Comments

0 comments – add a comment