Leopold Damrosch: Orchestral Music
The Prussian-born conductor-composer Leopold Damrosch (1832–85) built his reputation through the orchestra he founded in Breslau, emigrating in 1871 to the USA, where he founded a number of important musical institutions in New York and became chief conductor at the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic. These spirited student performances reveal that the same sense of adventure informed his own music, heard here in its first recordings. At the heart of his only symphony, which sits between Brahms and Wagner, is a dark and powerful funeral march. The disc opens with a jubilant overture which takes an excited lead from Wagner’s Meistersingers and closes with a bonne bouche in the form of Damrosch’s orchestration of a Schubert favourite.
Adolfo Fumagalli: Piano Music, Volume One
In his brief life Adolfo Fumagalli (1828–56), one of four musician brothers from Inzago, near Milan, made a name for himself across Europe as ‘the Paganini of the piano’, astonishing audiences with his dazzling technique and acquiring an especial reputation for performances using his left hand alone. Fumagalli composed a large body of piano music – over 100 opus numbers – many of them operatic fantasies and virtuosic studies of the type presented in this anniversary recital, recorded in his home town.
Georg Philipp Telemann: Harmonischer Gottes-Dienst, Volume 6: Seven Cantatas
This is the sixth CD in the first complete recording of the 72 cantatas in Georg Philipp Telemann’s collection Harmonischer Gottes-Dienst, published in Hamburg in 1726 – the first complete set of cantatas for the liturgical year to appear in print. The cantatas are designated for voice, an obbligato instrument (recorder, violin, transverse flute or oboe) and basso continuo, and generally take the form of two da capo arias with an intervening recitative. Although intended for worship, both public and private, Telemann’s cantatas are a masterly blend of tunefulness with skilled counterpoint and vocal and instrumental virtuosity.
Leo Zeitlin: Yiddish Songs, Chamber Music and Declamations
A member of the Society for Jewish Folk Music in St Petersburg, Leo Zeitlin (1884–1930) was known mainly for Eli Zion, a classic of Jewish art-music. Zeitlin died only seven years after emigrating to New York, still a young man, and his reputation languished until the recent discovery of a trunk full of scores brought his music back to light. This album attempts to remedy decades of neglect, especially for his charismatic Yiddish song-settings for voice, strings and piano. Zeitlin’s powerful declamations – Romantic piano music underscoring spoken Yiddish and Russian poetry – points to a genre that once was popular and is now forgotten.