Chandos to release Wagner orchestral works CD

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 15 February 2012 | 6:30:00 pm

Orchestral Works, Vol. 5
Symphony in C; Symphony in E
Huldigungsmarsch / Kaisermarsch
Overture to ‘Rienzi
Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Neeme Järvi


CHSA 5097

Chandos' series of works by Richard Wagner, performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and
Neeme Järvi, continues with a disc of early symphonies, later marches, and the Overture to
‘Rienzi’.

Early on in his career, Wagner composed two symphonies, both of which are included on this
disc. The Symphony in C, which he wrote when he was just nineteen years old, is heavily
influenced by Beethoven in its character, mood, and instrumentation. Written two years later, in
1834, the Symphony in E was left unfinished, Wagner completing only the first movement and
thirty bars of the second. The completed version recorded here was prepared by the conductor
Felix Mottl more than fifty years later at the request of Wagner’s widow, Cosima.

The two marches on this disc are the composer’s most obvious contributions to the genre of pomp
and circumstance. The Huldigungsmarsch was written in 1864 for King Ludwig II of Bavaria.
The march-like rhythms and brassy colours complement sections in which the strings provide a
continuously flowing movement, all leading to a jubilant conclusion. The Kaisermarsch (1871)
was a commission from the publishing firm Peters, who requested from Wagner a heroic morale
booster at a time when the German countries were at war with France. Having initially composed
it for military band, Wagner soon rewrote it for symphony orchestra, the version recorded on this
disc.

The Overture to Rienzi, Wagner’s third completed opera (1838 – 40), incorporates the melody of
Rienzi’s prayer at the start of Act V, which became the opera’s best-known aria, and ends with a
dazzling military march.