Manfred Müssauer

Emil Niklaus von Reznicek: Tanz-Symphonie; Balletmusik; Walzerwischenspiel

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Emil Niklaus von Reznicek: Tanz-Symphonie; Balletmusik; Walzerwischenspiel Review

by Blair Sanderson

Austrian post-Romantic composer Emil Nikolaus von Reznicek has seriously been neglected. Though his engaging music was once extremely popular, it became unfashionable by the mid-twentieth century and almost completely fell out of the repertoire, except for the lively overture to his opera Donna Diana, which regained popularity in the 1950s due to its use as theme music for Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, little else was played for decades. Yet a minor revival seems to be underway at the beginning of the twenty first century, with several German recordings of Reznicek's works appearing to signal renewed interest. This disc from Antes Edition features the exotically charged, lushly orchestrated, and rhythmically propulsive Symphony No. 5, "Dance Symphony," and two excerpts from Donna Diana -- the "Ballet Music on a Spanish National Melody" and the "Waltz Intermezzo" -- which give a generous serving of Reznicek's buoyant and colorful style, if not anything more substantial or meaningful. The Danube Philharmonic Orchestra under Manfred Müssauer turns in amiable performances that seem suitably bright and vivacious for this light music, and the reproduction is fine enough to capture all the glittery colors and splashy orchestral effects, especially in the "Dance Symphony."

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