Hans Werner Henze: Symphonies 7 & 8

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
The symphony is not a genre that immediately comes to mind when thinking of Henze, but by 2009 he had composed 10, a not inconsiderable achievement. Here, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, led by Marek Janowski, plays two of his most substantial and traditional symphonies: "No. 7" and "No. 8." "No. 7," written in 1984, was commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic. The composer has said that the symphony was for him "the opening of a door to something other than what I had done thus far," and that change is apparent in the music, which has an expansiveness and expressive sweep that does indeed signal a new level of emotional transparency. The first movement has a kind...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
The symphony is not a genre that immediately comes to mind when thinking of Henze, but by 2009 he had composed 10, a not inconsiderable achievement. Here, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, led by Marek Janowski, plays two of his most substantial and traditional symphonies: "No. 7" and "No. 8." "No. 7," written in 1984, was commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic. The composer has said that the symphony was for him "the opening of a door to something other than what I had done thus far," and that change is apparent in the music, which has an expansiveness and expressive sweep that does indeed signal a new level of emotional transparency. The first movement has a kind of abstract Hindemithian rigor in its counterpoint, but the remaining three movements are unabashedly soulful and poignant, with an unfettered lyricism to which the composer had rarely given such free rein previously. The final movement, an orchestral setting of a Hölderlin poem, has a soaring Romantic eloquence that carries the listener along until the mood is shattered by a brashly powerful apocalyptic conclusion. The three movements of the "Eighth Symphony" are based on incidents and speeches from A Midsummer Night's Dream, and the music reflects the lightness and magic of the subject matter. This is not a frothy lightness, though; the music still has Henze's characteristic textural density and complexity, but without the pronounced angst. The second and third movements in particular are, respectively, humorously and tenderly expressive. The orchestral performances are polished and disciplined, but Janowski gives the music's lyricism plenty of room to blossom. Wergo's sound is clean and balanced, but doesn't have the clarity and spaciousness to let details of orchestration emerge with the necessary distinction.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/9/2008
  • Label: Wergo Germany
  • EAN: 4010228672121
  • Catalog Number: 6721
  • Sales rank: 19,000

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–4 Symphony No. 7 - Hans Werner Henze & Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (34:48)
  2. 5–7 Symphony No. 8 - Hans Werner Henze & Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (25:33)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Marek Janowski Primary Artist
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