Yuri Ahronovitch

Liszt: Eine Symphonie du Dantes "Divina Commedia"; Wagner: Rienzi Overture; Scriabin: Le Poème de L'Extase

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To get a sense of the ambition of the Romantic movement, one need only hear Franz Liszt's A Symphony to Dante's Divine Comedy, which represents one high point of exploration that had wide influence, and Alexander Scriabin's Poem of Ecstasy, which is characteristic of the period's final efflorescence. These are the major works of this album by Yuri Ahronovitch and the Orchestra of the Alte Oper Frankfurt, with Richard Wagner's Rienzi Overture serving almost as a light interlude between them. While this operatic piece is certainly an important indication of the groundbreaking directions Wagner would take in his later music dramas, it is still a comparatively modest musical example, particularly when compared to the weighty works on either side of it, which leave a clearer impression of Romantic innovations. In terms of orchestration, form, and harmonic advances, the Dante Symphony and Poem of Ecstasy both seem to burn with originality and still have the capacity to surprise modern listeners, where Wagner's overture has sections that hearken back to early 19th century Italian opera and seems at time predictably bombastic. The live performances date from 1983, so the sound quality is not outstanding, and the sound of the orchestra is a little shallow in dimensions. All the same, this CD will be a keeper for Ahronovitch fans, and an interesting offering for beginners exploring Romantic music.

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