Symphony No. 2/Tyberg

August 24, 2013

front cover tyberg 2

The tragic story of Marcel Tyberg (1893-1944) was related to JoAnn Falletta, conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic, by Dr. Milan Mihich who had been trusted with the manuscripts which encouraged her to pursue to record his music. Tyberg unfortunately was part of the cleansing of Jews in Germany and he perished in 1943. This recording is made possible through the support of the Marcel Tyberg Musical Legacy Fund and Falletta, champion of many unrecorded composers. This is the second CD in the series and hopefully there will be more in the future. If you’re interested I’ve reviewed their first release of his third symphony which I found to be a very satisfying listen.

Written in 1927 the second symphony follows the tradition of the 19th century composers Mendelssohn, Bruckner and a fine fugue reminding you of Johann Sebastian Bach. The first movement Allegro appassionato begins with a Bruckner like theme from the strings in the lower register. The melody is turned over to the heroic fanfare from the French horns and the woodwinds. This is a theme that could very easily be a tone poem as it is filled with mystery and intrigue as well as being a structured movement. Tyberg introduces a second theme with dramatic phrases. Tyberg returns to his first melody allowing full development where we again hear the majestic horns. It concludes with a rousing crescendo restating the melody again. The second movement, an adagio, is one of peace and tranquility, a pastoral scene of a shepherd herding his flock, although we hear a brief restatement of the theme from the first movement. The third movement, a scherzo taken from a page out of Mendelssohn, is a bright uplifting one filled with dances, harmony, and fugue like counterpoint. There are three themes that are developed in the movement. The fourth movement begins with a slow almost plodding theme that is introduced by the bass and then turned over to the winds and horns. It is a wonderful fugue not to be missed.

This is a work not to be missed! The Buffalo Philharmonic is in top form and enhances what is being offered. There playing is precise and crisp and well recorded by Tim Handley in a fine sounding music hall that I’m confident will produce many more fine recordings in the future.

The second selection on this CD is Tyberg’s Piano Sonata No. 2 which is rich in the 19th century tradition. This is not necessarily an easy listen as there is a lot going on especially in the allegro, the first movement. The adagio makes Fabio Bidini demonstrate that he is a first class pianist. The scherzo is also busy with some of the material being firmly attacked while other parts are quite delicate in nature. The finale is truly a romantic track that reminds me of something that Rachmaninoff could have conceived. It is well recorded with the sound of the Steinway coming through loud and clear.

As a reviewer I consider Falletta to be the Howard Hanson of the 21st century introducing us to new composers who have much to offer the listener. Recommended.

Track Listing

Symphony No. 2 in F minor (1927)

1. Allegro appassionato (9:37)

2. Adagio:Langsam-Andante con moto (10:38)

3. Scherzo: Allegro vivace con spirit (9:17)

4. Preludium-Allegro assai (12:32)

Piano Sonata No. 2 in F sharp minor (1934)

5. Allegro con fuoco (8:38)

6. Adagio, non troppo ma sempre maestoso (12:34)

7. Scherzo: Allegro vivace sempre assai energico (6:27)

8. Finale: Sostenuto e maestoso-Allegro non troppo ma sempre

Con passione (5:04)

Total Time 74:47

“Good faith and daunting perseverance have once again uncovered wonderful ‘new’ music by a composer altogether unknown,” Edward Yadzinski wrote in the liner notes. The symphony written in the 30’s by Austrian pianist and composer Marcel Tyberg was saved from destruction by a music loving Italian physician in the 40’s when it became evident that the Jewish composer would be sent to Auschwitz and executed which he was in 1944. He never had the opportunity to hear his work.

The D minor symphony eerily starts with a thumping of strings from the lower register followed by the introduction of a melody from a single horn. Other horns are added and the Andante is nicely developed in a typical Germanic fashion. The pace is quite slow but moves forward nicely using other themes that go between the reeds, strings, and horns but always returning to the main theme on the solo horn. This is assuredly written in a style from the late 19th century and I am reminded of Bruckner. The Scherzo while not as lively and dance like as many I’ve heard, it still moves at a quick enough pace. Again all sections of the orchestra participate in the development of the theme. This movement also sounds very much like it came out of the late 19th century from Brahms or any number of composers of that time frame. The Adagio is a thing of beauty performed quite eloquently by the Buffalo Philharmonic. They have the right feeling for the movement and deliver a touching emotion filled performance. I’m confident if Marcell were alive to have heard it there would be a tear in his eye. The lively tune in the Rondo is given the opportunity to be performed by all sections of the orchestra. This movement has more of a modern sound as it is very upbeat and full of life and the orchestra seems excited and full of energy. The 37 minutes went by far too quickly and I found myself never bored and my attention didn’t waiver from the work at all.

I am quite excited about this new work and it will become one that I will return to on a regular basis. I will look forward to a recording of his second symphony, a work that had its premiere in the early 30’s by Kubelik and the Czech Philharmonic. I applaud the Buffalo Philharmonic and JoAnn Falletta for stepping out of the box and bringing this new exciting work to us. It is well recorded and mastered and as always with Naxos it is a good value. It is also available as a digital download at Highly recommended.

Naxos 8.572236

Track Listing:

1….Andante maestoso-Solenne e sostenuto (14:17)

2….Scherzo: Allegro non troppo (6:22)

3….Adagio (9:27)

4….Rondo: Allegro vivace (6:43)

Total Time is 36:49