Blumer was a Dresden-born German composer of conservative
inclinations. A student of his father and then of Draeseke,
he was active in Dresden, Leipzigand Berlin as pianist, composer and music
director. He became music director and principal conductor
of the Dresden radio orchestra in 1925 and left them in 1931
for a similar appointment in Leipzig. Remaining in Leipzig
until 1942 he died in Berlin. His grave is to be found in
Dresden near that of Weber. His music pleases without being
Blumer set his face against serialism and dodecaphony.
This much is clear from these two sextets nurtured in the
mulch of high noon German romanticism. The Op. 45 Sextet
comprises an original theme and seven variations, each
short. This is Mozartian ‘harmoniemusik’ smoothly projected
and expertly blended. Its episodes include a Schumann-like
romance for piano solo, a playful Dvořákian capriccio,
a warm and contented pastorale, a busily spinning Slav dance
with the horn given its head from time to time as is also
the case with the woodland calls of the romanze. After a diminutive
and sturdily cheery Humoreske comes a Brahmsian hornpipe for
the finale. The four movement Kammersinfonie is
from the war years. It has a long allegro ma non troppo
in which Schumann is in the ascendant with lovely contentedly
romantic writing for the woodwind. After the elf-play of the
scherzo comes an andante sostenuto of Brahmsian gravitas
and autumnal hues. The Rondo finale is memorable for the chasseur
writing for the horn and the radiant Dvořák-style bonhomie.
Its smiling optimism lifts the whole work.
The liner-notes offer only a little in the way of
background while Grove 5 is silent (a touch of post-War revenge
... who knows). However the trusty 1924 Dictionary of Modern
Music and Musicians claims for him: Five O’Clock Tea
(opera produced at Dresden in 1911); various orchestral
works: Carnival Episode, symphonic poem Erlösung;
The Legend of Thais the Dancer; piano quintet; violin
sonata, songs and piano solos.
I hope that we will hear some of these other works
although on this showing Blumer was more of a pleasing craftsman
than anything more.