There are now competing
versions of Klughardt’s orchestral suite
Auf der Wanderschaft. On Sterling
it’s coupled with the Konzert-Ouverture
Op. 45 (1884), the Konzerstück
for Oboe and orchestra Op. 18 (1870)
and the Cello Concerto in A minor Op.
59. All are worth getting to know though
none is an undiscovered masterpiece.
Those recordings were made between 1975-80
and still sound acceptable though not
quite as warm as this recent Antes CD,
which couples Klughardt’s suite with
Schubert’s Third Symphony.
for piano, and premiered by the composer
in 1895 to great acclaim, the suite
was orchestrated in 1897. A six-movement
work, strong on verdant forestry, it
has sipped deeply from the Pastoral
Symphony and from Schumann and the
result is a pleasurable and well-orchestrated
example of craftsmanship and melodiousness.
The opening movement is genial and rather
explicitly Schumannesque and the second,
which describes a brook, is animated
by constantly running semi-quavers and
hints of Smetana. The birdcalls and
forest life of An der Klause
also contain brief Wagnerian moments
(not inappropriately – though not suggestively)
and fine lyricism. Klughardt was a generous
melodist and this is unfailingly attractive
music, even if the cuckoo and hunting
motifs and the gruff presentation of
the Chase are a mite generic. There’s
a Viennese waltz for the fifth movement
and in the sixth a recapitulation of
melodies and motifs – warm, mellow and
at an axis of Beethovenian and Schumannesque.
The coupling is in
one sense disappointing – not the playing
which is attractive enough though lacking
in lyrical heft and a certain amount
of zest – but because we don’t get more
Klughardt. It makes recommendations
difficult. I prefer Antes’ sound but
the Sterling is obviously a better bet
for admirers of the composer.