Critic's Notebook: Reviving forgotten composers on CD
My remedy this time of year is to surf my stereo. The record business, despite sensationalized reports, is not dead, not the classical record business anyway. I have, piled in front of me, stacks of CDs — actual physical CDs, some lavishly packaged, some in glorious Super Audio CD sound (SACD is not dead either). On these discs are symphonies and string quartets and arias and piano sonatas from the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries by composers I've read about only in music history texts and by composers I never knew existed. Have you ever heard of Asger Hamerik, Robert de Roos or Günter Raphael?
Hats off to anyone who knows the name Marcel Tyberg. The score to his Third Symphony, written just before the composer's death in Auschwitz, was lying in a basement in Buffalo, N.Y., until conductor JoAnn Falletta was persuaded to perform it with the Buffalo Philharmonic; Naxos released their recording Tuesday. A special prize to anyone who has worked through George Onslow's 70 string quartets and quintets. The three quartets played by Quatuor Diotima and on a Naïve recording are but a start for a composer once considered the French Beethoven.
For a Sunday CD survey, I plow through these recent releases.
-- Mark Swed
Photo: Recent releases of music by forgotten composers. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times.