Bruckner buffs may recognize the name of Siegmund von Hausegger as the conductor who, in 1932, championed Bruckner's Ninth Symphony by presenting it for the first time in its original, unaltered form. Apart from this, his name has largely been lost to history. Considering his importance as a conductor in his time and the quality and quantity of his compositional output, this is truly a shame. Fortunately for listeners, this CPO album provides a magnificent performance of one of his most grandiose works, his "Nature Symphony." Composed in 1911, the symphony employs a massive orchestra that, like Mahler, is used with razor-sharp precision. The liner notes of the album (which are annoyingly filled with as much social commentary as historical information) provide detailed, step-by-step overviews of the nature scenes being depicted and the Goethe writings that inspired them. Little known works cannot be successfully recorded without top-notch performances. The WDR Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra of Cologne, under the baton of Ari Rasilainen give listeners just such a performance. Whether performing with full orchestral forces or a mere one or two instruments, the technical precision and musical integrity of the musicians is abundantly clear, allowing listeners to focus on the content of the music rather than the technical details of the performance.
AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Natursymphonie, for orchestra & chorus|