Carl Maria von Weber: Complete Overtures

Howard Griffiths / WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln

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Carl Maria von Weber: Complete Overtures Review

by Blair Sanderson

Howard Griffiths has explored much German Romantic music with various European orchestras for the CPO label, notably in his lively recordings of orchestral works by Louis Spohr, Ferdinand Ries, Franz Anton Hoffmeister, and others who are under-represented in the repertoire. While much of the concert music of Carl Maria von Weber is still frequently performed, his overtures have had uneven coverage, save for the popular overtures to Oberon, Euryanthe, and Der Freischütz, which are still regularly programmed. But there are other overtures that have become obscure, along with their long-forgotten operas and incidental music, and Griffiths' 2015 album with the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln shows how charming and well-crafted they are and deserving of greater attention. For a taste of Weber's innovative orchestration and colorful harmonies, the overtures to Abu Hassan (track three) and Turandot (track nine) are special treats, though Weber's music is always brilliant, and all of the selections are enjoyable.

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