- Symphony No. 4, Op. 39
- Symphony No. 2, Op. 20
German academics have been campaigning for years on behalf of the symphonies of Johann Nepomuk David, who lived and taught in Germany through World War II and rushed into his bombed, burning house to retrieve the score of the Symphony No. 4 heard here (he grabbed the wrong bundle but reconstructed the music from memory). David was a student of Schoenberg and flirted with serial-like techniques, and he's been compared to another of his influences, Paul Hindemith, in his more expansive and less neoclassic mode. But the effect is more like that of another German composer, Max Reger, and if you like him, you'll probably like David, a contrapuntist in the Reger mode but with more contemporary harmonic practice and often a heavily chromatic treatment of modal pitch groupings. Sample the Scherzo movement of the "Symphony No. 4, Op. 39," the longest of the symphony's four movements, which builds itself up from rather inchoate material to a contrapuntal climax of great power. Throughout, the themes are logically and intricately developed, accounting for their appeal perhaps to academic theorists; the booklet, unusually, includes analysis with musical notation. Each symphony has the conventional four movements, although the "Symphony No. 2, Op. 20," composed in 1938, has two massive outer movements flanking two comparatively short central ones. These outer movements are quite complex. David's symphonies are not a walk in the park, but they're recommended to those who enjoy other monumentalists, like Edmund Rubbra. This is part of a complete cycle of the David symphonies from the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien under Johannes Wildner, who take a deliberate, clear approach to the music. That's just the ticket here.