Classical The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/6844.html Tue, 30 Nov 2021 04:28:01 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Richard Wetz - Requiem Op. 50 In B Minor (2005) http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/6844-wetz-richard/25872-richard-wetz-requiem-op-50-in-b-minor-2005.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/6844-wetz-richard/25872-richard-wetz-requiem-op-50-in-b-minor-2005.html Richard Wetz - Requiem Op. 50 In B Minor (2005)

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1 	Requiem Und Kyrie 	12:04
2 	Dies Irae 	13:31
3 	Domine Jesu 	8:15
4 	Sanctus Und Benedictus 	13:14, 
5 	Agnus Dei 	13:02

Baritone Vocals – Mario Hoff
Soprano Vocals – Marietta Zumbült 
Choir – Dombergchor Erfurt, Philharmonischer Chor Weimar
Orchestra – Thüringisches Kammerorchester Weimar
Conductor – George Alexander Albrecht

 

There is no doubt in my mind that this is one of the great ‘unsung’ requiems in the ‘liturgical’ literature. Well, ‘liturgical’ may be a misnomer, but I will explain later. I was reminded of the first time I heard the great Stanford Requiem and how I could hardly believe my ears. How has something as good as this lain unheard for so many years? The same goes for Wetz’s Requiem. It was, apparently last heard at a concert in 1943 – in the middle of Germany in the middle of a World War!

A brief note about the composer: Richard Wetz was born in 1875 in Gleiwitz in Upper Silesia. He studied at the Leipzig Conservatory before taking up a post in a theatre in Strasund on the recommendation of Felix Weingartner. Not long after this he was introduced to the music of Bruckner at a concert in Leipzig. This was to be a major influence on his stylistic maturity.

The rest of his life was spent in the town of Erfurt where he ‘multi-tasked’ as a teacher, conductor and composer. In 1906 he was appointed as Director of the Erfurt Music Society. He died on 16 January 1935 in his adopted hometown.

Few of his compositions have been recorded and there is little written about him in English.

CPO has performed a sterling service in recording the superb symphonies and the Violin Concerto in B minor. There is also an overture and song cycle in the catalogue. However Wetz’s magnum opus appears to be the present Requiem.

There are three critical things to note about this Requiem – firstly it is not liturgical, secondly it is perhaps more of a choral symphony and finally it is an inspired and perhaps even visionary work.

There is no way that this Requiem could be used at a service of remembrance for the dead. For one thing the Vatican Fathers in their infinite wisdom deleted the Dies Irae from the order of service. Like Anglican liturgical scholars they had a tendency to ignore the great and exalt the pedestrian! Further, Wetz omits bits and pieces of the text. And finally one would feel sorry for a bereaved family having to sit through an hours worth of music – no matter how glorious! ... and that on top of the hymns and homily.

Wetz was primarily a symphonist – and for that we can be grateful. When he turned his attention to the liturgy he did not put his formal preferences on one side. Seen in the context of symphonic form this Requiem is almost Mahlerian in its stature. Five great ‘movements’ lead us towards a satisfying and spiritually uplifting peroration. There seems to be cross-referencing of themes – although without the score it is hard to see just how cyclic the work actually is. The composer makes a great use of orchestral interludes – sometimes lasting for minutes with the soloists and chorus sitting quietly as the orchestra reflects on past and future texts.

Finally the listener can hardly fail to sense the degree of autobiography in this music. We do not know much about Richard Wetz’s private life – but every page of this score seems to breathe personal experience and reflection. It was composed after the First World War, in the 1920s, at a time when the memory of the horrors of that conflict were still fresh. Germany was sliding into economic chaos and the first stirrings of a new evil were on the horizon.

Could this work be classified as a War Requiem? Possibly, but perhaps it is more a vehicle for Wetz exploring the depths of his soul. The music is certainly marked with ‘scars of grief,’ but, more vitally, there is a great hope here too.

The performance is excellent – although I feel that the soprano soloist could have been a bit stronger. The recording is up to the usual superb CPO standards. However the programme notes have suffered somewhat in translation from the German – they become quite stodgy, or is it impenetrable, to read!

In summary, this is a fine and most moving work that deserves to be heard much more often. It is definitely a ‘concert’ work as opposed to a liturgical one. I can imagine it being performed to great effect in Coventry Cathedral. I do hope one of the great orchestras and choruses takes up this work before too long. ---John France, musicweb-international.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Wetz Richard Fri, 20 Sep 2019 13:20:31 +0000
Richard Wetz - Symphony No. 1 in C minor Op. 40 (1994) http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/6844-wetz-richard/26359-richard-wetz-symphony-no-1-in-c-minor-op-40-1994.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/6844-wetz-richard/26359-richard-wetz-symphony-no-1-in-c-minor-op-40-1994.html Richard Wetz - Symphony No. 1 in C minor Op. 40 (1994)

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1 	Ruhig Bewegt (Anfangs Etwas Gehalten) 	19:43
2 	Scherzo. Leicht Bewegt, Aber Nicht Zu Schnell 	11:11
3 	Sehr Langsam Und Ausdrucksvoll 	13:36
4 	Finale. Kräftig Und Entschieden Bewegt 	17:56

Cracow Philharmonia Orchestra
Roland Bader - conductor

 

The CPO label recorded a number of works by Richard Wetz back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, including the Requiem (review) and these orchestral works, of which the Second Symphony was reviewed on these pages (review). Wetz is still by no means a household name, and if you look him up on Wikipedia almost the first sentence is a quote from John Williamson regarding the symphonies, in which Wetz “seems to have aimed to be an immediate continuation of Bruckner, as a result of which he actually ended up on the margin of music history.” The composer’s profile was somewhat restricted in his adopted provincial home town of Erfurt, and his reputation not aided by an identification with National Socialist ideology between the wars. There are many neglected composers ripe for re-evaluation these days however, and seeing these symphonies and other works together in a complete set invites the innocent ear to see what’s on offer here.

Wetz was already 40 years old when he embarked on composing his First Symphony and the Brucknerian influence is clear from the start, with expansive themes, leisurely transitions and an architectural building of climaxes all descending from that master’s technical toolbox. You might mistake this for Bruckner if you don’t really know Bruckner, but even with the master’s fingerprints in evidence all over the place you have to admit there is a talent at work with some steps made towards finding a more original voice. The orchestration is effective, and there is thematic richness with a clear facility for invention. The slow movement, Sehr langsam und ausdrucksvoll is indeed deeply expressive and has some nice harmonic twists, though lacks a melody that would stick in the memory. The finale is full of drama and sometimes brooding passion. The booklet notes suggest autobiographical intentions, and there are indeed some powerful moments. The performance throughout is serviceable, but there are passages in which the brass section sounds a bit uncomfortable particularly in the first movement, and wind intonation is not particularly special. ---Dominy Clements, musicweb-international.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever (Bogdan Marszałkowski)) Wetz Richard Tue, 07 Jul 2020 15:02:11 +0000
Richard Wetz - Symphony No. 3 • Gesang Des Lebens (2001) http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/6844-wetz-richard/26052-richard-wetz-symphony-no-3--gesang-des-lebens-2001.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/6844-wetz-richard/26052-richard-wetz-symphony-no-3--gesang-des-lebens-2001.html Richard Wetz - Symphony No. 3 • Gesang Des Lebens (2001)

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Symphony No. 3, Op 48 In B Flat Major 	(50:47)
1 	Langsam - Kräftig, Bewegt 	17:45
2 	Sehr Langsam, Mit Klagendem Ausdruck 	11:03
3 	Scherzo. Nicht Zu Schnell Und Mit Humor 	7:49
4 	Finale. Bewegt 	14:10

5 	Gesang Des Lebens, Op. 29	8:57

Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz
Landesjugendchor Rheinland-Pfalz (5)
Werner Andreas Albert - conductor

 

While listening to Richard Wetz’s Third and final Symphony, you have to put out of your mind the fact that the work was written during the early years of the Weimar Republic. Indeed Wetz’s musical language remains as far removed from the modernist outlook of the period as one could imagine, instead retaining strong links with the 19th-century symphonic tradition, as promulgated most obviously by Anton Bruckner. And yet for all its stylistically retrospective qualities, such darkly pessimistic music seems to mirror the feeling of anxiety that had affected all conservative-orientated German musicians at the end of the First World War. This is particularly the case with the mournful slow movement which begins with the most extraordinarily menacing subterranean textures. The deeply affecting lament that follows seems to cast a shadow over the rest of the work with the bitterly twisted folk-dance harmonies of the ensuing scherzo offering little respite from the pervading feeling of gloom. Even the ultimate transformation of the Symphony’s urmotif into the major at the close of the finale sounds deliberately unconvincing – very much a hollow victory. In almost every respect the new CPO version of this powerful symphony is to be preferred to the pioneering 1981 Berlin recording recently reissued on the Sterling label. The orchestral playing is far more secure, and Werner Andreas Albert does a superb job in guiding one through the turbulent ebb and flow of Wetz’s musical argument. ---Erik Levi, classical-music.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Wetz Richard Tue, 29 Oct 2019 15:01:09 +0000
Richard Wetz - Violin Concerto • Traumsommernacht • Hyperion (2004) http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/6844-wetz-richard/25887-richard-wetz-violin-concerto--traumsommernacht--hyperion-2004.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/6844-wetz-richard/25887-richard-wetz-violin-concerto--traumsommernacht--hyperion-2004.html Richard Wetz - Violin Concerto • Traumsommernacht • Hyperion (2004)

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Violin Concerto Op. 57 In B Minor	(30:11)
1 	Etwas Gehalten 	7:05
2 	Ruhig Und Ausdrucksvoll 	7:07
3 	Straff Und Entschieden 	6:31
4 	Im Ersten Zeitmass 	9:36

5 	Traumsommernacht Op. 14	5:45
6 	Hyperion Op. 32	16:13

Violin – Ulf Wallin
Choir – Kammerchor Der Musikhochschule Augsburg
Baritone Vocals – Markus Köhler
Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz
Werner Andreas Albert - conductor

 

Ostensibly part of an ongoing revival, this recording of Richard Wetz's Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 57, may find a few defenders for its fine performance by violinist Ulf Wallin and the Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, skillfully conducted by Werner Andreas Albert. Hats off to these musicians, because they deliver the score with abundant color, clarity, vigor, and, particularly in Wallin's solo, enormous physical stamina; they make the best case possible for this work. However, Wetz's music is too derivative, melodramatic, and hackneyed to stand the test of time, and listeners may find it difficult to find any outstanding melodies or memorable passages in it. The Concerto is a rather formless concatenation of Romantic clichés -- nervous tremolos, doom-laden chords, Wagnerian fanfares, Brucknerian chorales, etc. -- surmounted by a violin part of endlessly cycling arpeggios and snippets of melodies that never cohere as themes. Although it is divided in four movements, this Concerto really seems like a loosely structured tone poem in the Lisztian mold, and quite an archaism for a work completed in 1933. The choral Traumsommernacht and Hyperion for baritone and choir are pleasant, quasi-Mahlerian filler, though not terribly striking or moving. CPO's sound quality is fine. ---Blair Sanderson, AllMusic Review

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Wetz Richard Mon, 23 Sep 2019 14:54:39 +0000
Wetz - Symphony No. 2 (1999) http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/6844-wetz-richard/25932-wetz-symphony-no-2-1999.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/6844-wetz-richard/25932-wetz-symphony-no-2-1999.html Wetz - Symphony No. 2 (1999)

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Symphony No. 2, op. 47 	(43:06)
1 	(I) Massig bewegt 	17:50
2 	(II) Langsam, mit klagendem Ausdruck 	9:50
3 	(III) Finale. Bewegt (Ruhige Halbe) 	15:26

4 	Kleist Overture op. 16 	16:08

Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz
Werner Andreas Albert - conductor

 

I was unaware of Richard Wetz's existence before hearing this disc but was quite bowled over by the constant melodic and heroic undercurrents that run through his boldly personal music. The Second Symphony is a very beautiful work that deserves resurrection . It is far removed from the advanced harmonies of Strauss but one never loses interest although the three movement structure means that two of the movements can tend to be slightly overlong. I detected traces of Raff and Liszt in the opening Massig bewegt that is also reminiscent of Bruckner at times although the central development is wonderfully advanced in its intensity. The Finale is also highly inventive with many rambling melodies and a sprightly and heroic coda concluding proceedings in a most satisfying manner.

The accompanying 'Kleist' Overture is also a decidedly involving work with romantic associations very much in evidence.

We are now used to Werner Andreas Albert unearthing rare German music and his interpretations of these works are second to none with the orchestra playing peerlessly. Involving notes make up the colourful booklet, which also sports a fine reproduction of a Dahl painting. CPO's recording is richly resonant and very clear with an expansive sound picture of the whole orchestra very much in evidence. Another major discovery from this highly enterprising German label. ---Gerald Fenech, musicweb-international.com

 

Richard Wetz (1875 — 1935) was a provincial composer in the truest sense of the word, comfortably writing music in the accepted German forms, using recognizably German/Austrian melodic material, and scoring with typically German conservatism. His Second Symphony was completed in 1919, but could have been written anytime between 1880 and the early 1930s. It sounds a lot like Bruckner, Mendelssohn, Brahms and Wagner, and the most interesting thing about it is the fact that it does not include a Scherzo, but rather has two large quick(-ish) movements surrounding a brief adagio. This makes the symphony much more active than one might ordinarily expect, and its closest cousin seems to be a piece like Furtwängler’s Second Symphony, a work which also conceals some individuality of expression behind its conventional outward demeanor. Nowadays the words “conventional” and “provincial” have pejorative connotations, particularly when applied to the arts. The real issue, however, is whether or not the artist is sincere, and whether he understands how to work with the materials he chooses, however conventional they may be. Wetz knows what he is doing. His themes are attractive and well chosen, his developments imaginative, and his scoring apt. If you enjoy Bruckner, you’ll like Wetz, as least as presented here on this well played, well recorded disc. ---David Hurwitz, classicstoday.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Wetz Richard Wed, 02 Oct 2019 15:44:15 +0000