Discovering Ernst Boehe

0 of 5 stars

“Symphonic Poems Volume 1”

Tragische Ouvertüre, Op.10
Aus Odysseus’ Fahrten (Four Episodes for Large Orchestra, Numbers 1-3)

Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz
Werner Andreas Albert

Recorded November 2001 & May 2002, Philharmonie, Ludwigshafen, Germany

Reviewed by: Colin Anderson

Reviewed: February 2003
CD No: CPO 999 875-2

Ernst Boehe was born in 1880 and was firmly of traditional German musical stock. His is music that is inherently Romantic, music that acknowledges Wagner and parallels Richard Strauss, music that has its genesis in Liszt and Schumann. Although not the equal of any of these composers, Ernst Boehe, who died in 1938, was a Munich-born composer and conductor, more prominent in the latter role during his lifetime. He is a confident and imaginative creator, someone who can switch from momentous outpouring to scurrying scherzo-like material or ethereal subtly-etched picture-painting. Striving and atmospheric, the pieces on this CD are big statements that are outgoing and healthy, a little predictable, yet often deftly invented, quite personal in sentiment and sympathetically responsive to Homer’s Odysseus adventures.

The Tragic Overture is cast as a 20-minute funeral march. Heraldic episodes mix with those of lamentation in music of reminiscence and defiance. The fourth and longest movement of Aus Odysseus’ Fahrten is not included. It seems that a future CD will include it but what a shame this could not have been added as a second CD? What we have, 55 minutes worth, is attractive in its programmatic content, its heroic striving, its delicate and powerful scoring, and its vivid sense of narrative.

The performances are appreciative and committed. Werner Andreas Albert has been absorbed with discovering little known 19/20th-century music for many years now and has a second nature for putting across the intentions of composers who have been overshadowed by greater contemporaries.

The recording is a little boxy in climaxes, not quite expansive enough in the most refulgent music or sufficiently widely-dynamic in climaxes. In quieter moments, or when Boehe acquits himself well as a quasi-impressionist, such pellucid scoring is well detailed and tangible. This first volume of Boehe’s music is an interesting offshoot of German Romanticism and future releases are looked-forward to.

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