> Music from Six Continents 1999 [GH]: Classical CD Reviews- Sept 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Hans HUBER (1852-1921)
Symphony No. 8 (1920) [28.56]
Symphony No. 4 Akademische (1918) [32.34]
Stuttgart PO/Jörg-Peter Weigle
rec 12-16 July 2001 (8); 14-16 Jan 2002, Philharmonie, Gustav-Siegle Haas, Stuttgart, Germany DDD
world premiere recordings
STERLING CDS-1047-2 [61.57]


Huber's symphonies are not monuments to heaven-scorching conflict or torrential tragedy. His is a beaming smiling muse.
The Eighth which turns its face completely from the slaughter that ended only two years previously is more of a grand serenade than a symphony. No harm in that at all. It is a confection of Dvorak from the Seventh and Eighth symphonies, of Tchaikovsky (the suites), the avuncular orchestral Reger and the beaming Brahms from the quieter reaches of the Second and Third Symphonies.
The Akademische is, like the Eighth, in four movements spanning about thirty minutes. It is a work of high individuality playing like a sextet for the usual string quartet plus piano and double bass counterpointed with double string orchestra (discreetly balanced) and an organ (more prominently placed). The sub-title is 'in Form eines Concerto Grosso'. Good humoured and full of the sort of chuckling brilliance you come across in the Saint-Saens Septet, the Stanford Serenade and the Ireland Sextet. The Cavatina (tr 6) has the honeyed string textures of Schoeck's Sommernacht though the Stuttgart strings lack the consummate idyllic opulence that would make this music sing. And sing it can. This Symphony remains quite a discovery and it is very fairly put across here by Weigle and the Stuttgarters.
The strings remain one of the slightly compromised aspects of this cycle (this disc completes Sterling's total traversal of the eight Huber symphonies). Scott Faigen's piano glints and glitters its way through the Fourth Symphony (similarly immune to world tragedy).
Interestingly, for me, this pairing can be thought of as a sort of modernish analogue of Beethoven's affectionate Fourth and Eighth symphonies.
This recording benefited from the financial support of the Czeslaw Marek Foundation.
Two lovely idyllically smiling symphonies written agaisnt the rapine and bloodshed of the times: a spell against evil - an uncomplicated benediction and one stalwart agaisnt dodecaphonic insurgency.

Rob Barnett



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