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Hans Huber – Symphonies Nos.8 & 4 (2002)

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Hans Huber – Symphonies Nos.8 & 4 (2002)

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Symphony No.8 F major
1- Allegro moderato
2- Allegretto scherzando
3- Adagio, ma non troppo
4- Finale: Allegro vivace, ma non troppo

Symphony No.4 A major 'Akademische'
5- Preæludium und Fugue
6- Cavatina
7- Humoreske
8- Finale (Variationen)

Stephan Leuthold – organ
Matthias Wächter - violin
Stuttgarter Philharmoniker 
Jörg-Peter Weigle – conductor

 

Hans Huber’s Eighth Symphony (1921) has been compared to Beethoven’s in its similarly joyous mood as well as for its identical key of F major. Indeed, right from the impressively cohesive first movement, the work is full of buoyant, life-affirming energy (Huber said he was constantly thinking “spring thoughts” while composing it) that Huber expresses through gorgeous tunes, fetching rhythms, and colorful orchestration. Given these three qualities, it’s not surprising that Dvorák comes to mind more than once during the course of this highly enjoyable work.

If anything, Symphony No. 4 is even more interesting by virtue of its unique orchestration. Scored for string orchestra, piano, and organ, and filled with lush, romantic melodies casting about in a quasi dramatic setting, the piece has a playfully serious character reminiscent of Saint-Säens. This is especially so in the finale, a highly original construction consisting of an introduction, passacaglia, and a set of clever variations. Both works receive excellent performances by the Stuttgart Philharmonic under Jörg-Peter Weigle’s masterful leadership. Sterling’s recording favors the high frequencies a bit too much, but otherwise it’s well balanced, with suitable dynamic impact. --- Victor Carr Jr, classicstoday.com

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