- Piano Sonata No. 2 in F sharp minor
- Symphony No. 2 in F minor
The continuing revelation of the number of Jewish composers who died during the Holocaust reminds one that composers aren't generally a wealthy lot, and that those with the wherewithal to get out of Germany were in the minority. The general level of the music is strikingly high. If this release of compositions by the largely forgotten Marcel Tyberg is less revelatory than, say, the music of Pavel Haas, it nevertheless may be of interest to those seeking a fuller picture of the period. Tyberg was seized and transported on the concentration-camp train where he died not because he himself professed the Jewish faith, but because he had a great-great-grandfather who had. He was a teacher in Abbazia, Italy (now Opatija, Croatia), on the Adriatic coast, and he was a friend of Rafael Kubelik, who programmed the "Symphony No. 2 in F minor" heard here with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. That work is based on Brahms' symphonies, with hints of Bruckner and Mahler, and with the prelude-and-fugue finale a clear homage to the Baroque-structured finale of the Brahms "Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98." The overall flavor is of someone trying to imitate and update Brahms without quite being capable of the web of motivic relationships that can keep you listening to Brahms for a lifetime. The "Piano Sonata No. 2 in F sharp minor," composed in 1934, is the more interesting work, with Beethoven the clear model but byways that cover Wagner as well as Brahms. The two works were recorded at different times and places, apparently not with an eye toward including them in the same release, but there is nothing to complain of in the performances of the symphony by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the indefatigable JoAnn Falletta, who has single-handedly expanded the 20th-century repertory substantially, and of the piano sonata by Fabio Bidini. An hour of well-crafted Romantic music that happens to date from the early years of the Nazi horror.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Tyberg: Symphony No. 2; Piano Sonata No. 2 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Austrian composer Marcel Tyberg's career (and life) was cut short by the Second World War. Despite being a devout Roman Catholic, he was arrested by the Nazis in 1943 because his great grandfather was Jewish. Fortunately, he entrusted his music to a friend before his death in 1944 en route to Auschwitz. Tyberg didn't compose many works, but the quality of them makes one wonder how he would have fared in a less toxic atmosphere. His second symphony, finished in 1931 is a big, post-romantic composition and reminded me of Erich Korngold's symphonic works. Tyberg seems more influenced by Beethoven than Brahms, however, with simple motives building and transforming themselves in rigorously logical fashion. The overarching themes were expressive examples of post-romanticism -- not as memorable as Rachmaninov's but still quite moving. JoAnne Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic are thoroughly invested in this work, and that dedication shows. Falletta lets the music stand on its own strengths. The performance presents a well-constructed symphony that should be immediately appealing to most listeners. Coupled with the symphony is Tyberg's second piano sonata from 1934. Tyberg was a pianist and organist, and his composition takes full advantage of the instrument. The work ranges over the keyboard, with plenty of Liszt-inspired gestures. If Nicolai Medtner wrote more tightly organized music, he might have composed something along these lines. Pianist Fabio Bidini performs the sonata with relish, delivering the music with all its inherent drama and brio.
The long-reaching shadows of the atrocities of the Holocaust haunt us still with each new story that emerges about the senseless death of yet another victim. Marcel Tyberg's story began in 1893 with his birth in Vienna. His father was a well-known violinist; his mother was a pianist in the school of the renowned pedagog Theodor Leschetizky and a colleague of the famous pianist and Beethoven interpreter Artur Schnabel. The Tybergs were close friends of the Kubelik family; Jan Kubelik was a renowned violinist and his son Rafael became a famous conductor. After Marcel’s father died in 1927, he and his mother moved to the Italian town of Abbazia (now in Croatia and renamed Opatija). Some time in the early 1930s Rafael Kubelik premiered Tyberg's Second Symphony, composed in 1927, with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Marcel, a devout Catholic, composed a setting of the Te Deum, which premiered in the church in Abbazia in 1943. When German forces occupied northern Italy in 1943 Tyberg's mother complied with Nazi regulations and disclosed that one of Marcel's great-grandfathers had been Jewish. Consequently Tyberg (though not his mother) was arrested and deported to the death camps of San Sabba (in Trieste) and subsequently Auschwitz (a.k.a. Oswiecim). It was long believed that Tyberg had committed suicide during transit, but the date of his death was recorded in Auschwitz as December 31, 1944. Fortuately for posterity, Tyberg entrusted his manuscripts to his friend Dr. Milan Mihich, whose son Dr. Enrico Mihich now works in Buffalo, NY. The latter related the Tyberg story to Maestra Falletta, who reviewed the manuscripts and initiated these performances. Tyberg's Second Symphony is a marvelous example of late-romanticism. To my ears the first movement has strong echoes of Bruckner, Adagio is charming, the Scherzo is well crafted, and the finale evokes memories of certain Mahlerian phrases. This strikes me as being a powerful symphony that I am happy to add to my collection. I am grateful to Maestra JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for what seems to me to be a splendid performance, beautifully recorded. Tyberg's Second Piano Sonata was composed in 1934. With its echoes of Beethoven plus a touch of Brahms, it too is a powerful work that surely deserves to be included in pianists' repertoires. Edward Yadzinski's program notes are well-written and very informative. If you like unusual late-romantic works, don’t miss these! Ted Wilks