included in this work were either born or came to settle in Germany and Austria
and composed their symphonies from the onset of the nineteenth century down
to the present day. Not included are the giants of Austro-German symphonism
whose acknowledged masterpieces have been recorded with such regularity that
their inclusion would have engendered a tenfold increase in the size of this
our word symphony derives from the Italian sinfonia, and works
with this title were first written in Italy, it is in the German-speaking
lands that the symphony as we now recognize it derived its mature form. The
Italian sinfonia was an orchestral piece, usually associated with a
vocal work, that was practically synonymous with an overture and composers
in Germany (and elsewhere) such as Johann Sebastian Bach (1690-1750) and Georg
Friedrich Händel (1690-1759) used the term in that sense. During the
course of the eighteenth century, this type of work metamorphosized gradually
into the larger, usually four movement structure, that we call the classical
symphony. This took place mostly in Vienna and Mannheim as a large number
of composers became accomplished and fecund symphonists. However, it is definitely
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) who can be called "the father of the symphony."
He not only increased the size and seriousness of the symphony, but also standardized
its four-movement form by adding a minuet movement to each work. With his
younger contemporary Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and well as Haydn's
student, Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), these three brought the early "modern"
symphony to its its first full fruition. They were followed by that illustrious
procession of major German and Austrian symphonists: Franz Schubert (1797-1828),
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), Robert Schumann (1810-1856), Anton Bruckner
(1824-1896), Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) and Gustav Mahler (1860-1911). The
symphonies of these nine composers from Haydn to Mahler, constitutes the backbone
of the classical-romantic orchestral repertoire both in the concert hall and
on recordings. The nineteenth century also witnessed a plethora of Austrian
and German composers who produced symphonies. While a number of them are well-represented
in this discography, most have either been forgotten by history or have seen
only a smattering of their output recorded. On the other hand, the twentieth
century saw a steady decrescendo of symphonic composition with the notable
exception of works from the composers who wrote during the second half of
the century in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).
As in the
previous discographies in this series, no attempt has been made to list every
release of every recording of each work. There have just been too many reissues,
especially from the major labels, to make this feasible for many recordings.
Instead, what are listed are the most current issue the author has located
and the earliest release (if any on LP or CD) of that particular recording.
In general, multi-disc compendium releases are omitted unless they contain
a unique recording or the sole modern reissue of a previously released performance.
Recorded is here defined as being available in a physical format that can
be (or could have been) purchased or obtained from either a commercial or
non-commercial source. Tape recordings, DVD's and formats other than CD's
or LP's are not included.
for each composer consists of two sections. First there is a compact biographical
paragraph that notes some essential information such as place of birth, higher
musical education (including schools and prominent teachers), subsequent musical
careers in addition to composing and details of other symphonies that have
not been recorded. Compositional styles are not discussed in these paragraphs
and readers are referred to the bibliography where various reference books
that cover this subject are listed. The second part of each composer entry
consists of lists of his or her symphonies that have been recorded and the
various recordings of each work. Symphony is defined here as any work the
composer has designated as such in its title including works called "sinfonia"
or "sinfonietta." The works can be for full orchestra, chamber orchestra,
strings, winds, brass or chorus and orchestra. For every symphony that has
them, the opus number, key signature and title are noted and the year of composition
or première (if known) is stated for all. The entries of the symphonies
that have had multiple recordings are listed alphabetically by the conductor's
name. Each listing of a recording consists of the following components: (1)
Performers (in this order if all are involved - conductor, soloists, choral
group, orchestra), (2) Other works on the recording. (3) Label and catalogue
number and year of issue and (4) If the recording is a reissue, the original
LP or CD release and its year of issue. Please note that the performers listed
are for the entry work and not necessarily for the works that it is coupled
with. Also, in most instances when an entry work is included in a large collection
(especially if most of the other works are not related to the discography's
subject) the list of couplings is not given but replaced by the title of the
* * * * * *
I have received
a lot of help in preparing this work. For this particular discography, I am
especially indebted to my friend Steve Ellis who, in a sense, could be considered
my co-author. His depth of knowledge about recordings of twentieth-century
composers and how to find information about them was totally indispensable
for this work to see the light of day. It was my lucky day when this contributor
to that most useful of all musical reference works, Nicolas Slonimsky's Baker's
Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, spotted my earlier discographies
on MusicWeb International and took me under his wing. Not only has he supplied
me with tons of data but has also given me a professional editor's oversight
that has so improved the quality of my work. Thanks also go to Holger Sambale
in Germany and Friedrich Katt in Austria for the specific important information
they gave me. As always, Rob Barnett, David Barker and Len Mullenger of MusicWeb
International were on hand to help my work onto the internet.
* * * * * * *
that all recordings listed are CDs unless specifically designated as LPs.
Finally, as this resource is published online it can always be a work in progress
as the author has the ability to amend the work when necessary with very little
difficulty. A work of this type is bound to contain errors and omissions as
so much material has been gathered from so many diverse sources. Therefore,
I ask anyone who reads this book and finds such errors or omissions to please
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be very grateful indeed.
LP Vinyl Records and CDs http://www.parnassusrecords.com/old_site/oldcatalogs.htm
AND CONDUCTOR SITES
composers have their own websites and others can be found on the websites of
their publishers. There are also websites for earlier composers and conductors
that are maintained by societies that promote their music and recordings. These
can be found by typing the composer's name into any search engine.