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August KLUGHARDT (1847-1902)
Auf der Wanderschaft – Suite for Orchestra Op.67 (1895 orchestrated 1897)
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)

Symphony No.3 in D major D200 (1815)
Alhaltische Philharmonie Dessau/Golo Berg
Rec. Mitteldeutschen Rundfunks, Anhaltischen Theater, Dessau, May 2003
ANTES BM CD 31.9196 [50.20]

There are now competing versions of Klughardt’s orchestral suite Auf der Wanderschaft. On Sterling CDS-1054-2 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.

Originally written 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.

Jonathan Woolf


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