Reinecke lived a long and productive life, working his way up
the musical ‘food-chain’ from conducting a small volunteer orchestra
and teaching private lessons to becoming music director of the
Gewandhaus Orchestra and professor in the Leipzig conservatory.
His responsibilities in these latter positions were considerable,
and it is a wonder that he found the time to compose the sizeable
number of works that he did. Yet, his opus numbers exceed 250.
As a teacher, his methods were often ridiculed, but a number
of his students went on to notable success, holding their teacher
in high regard.
major influences were Mendelssohn and Schumann. Their respective
early deaths left the composer in an artistic quandary, he being
inclined to compose in traditional forms of absolute music that
were decidedly out of fashion amongst prominent composers of
the time with the notable exception of Brahms. Toward the end
of his life, he became resigned to the belief that most of his
music would be forgotten. Little did he know that recordings,
in their infancy at the time of his death, would serve as the
vehicle to revive interest in his work, and the works of his
contemporaries some decades later.
Symphony No. 1 of 1858 was actually his third effort in the
genre, the two earlier attempts withdrawn and now lost. The
opening movement is reminiscent of Schumann and starts out with
a couple of promising themes. They remain underdeveloped though
and by the movement’s end have disintegrated into somewhat clichéd
gestures. The second movement reflects Brahms’ influence and
opens with a promising melody. Sadly a lack of development leaves
us still wanting more. The third movement scherzo is the most
successful. The tunes are charming and there is some very fine
writing for the winds in the second theme. The final movement
is boisterous, but some sloppy ensemble on the part of the Bern
orchestra and some slipping intonation in the strings bring
an otherwise professional performance to a lackluster and rather
Violin Concerto of 1876 had an auspicious enough beginning,
the first performance being given by none other than Joseph
Joachim. According to all reports, the performance was everything
that a composer could have wanted right down to the good reviews.
This was heartening for the composer whose early violin concerto,
written for equally famous Ferdinand David was often truncated
by the soloist and never given the kind of serious attention
that the later work received from Joachim. This is a substantial
work that fares thematically and developmentally better than
the symphony. With its lush orchestration and attractive solo
writing, it’s a bit of a wonder as to why it has lain dormant
for nearly a century.
Turban is a fine soloist with a warm and lively tone and plenty
of fingerboard mastery to bring off the flashier passages with
ease and aplomb. One might wish for a bit more commitment from
Johannes Moesus and the orchestra however. Their playing, while
perfectly competent, lacks any sense of urgency or passion.
The performance leaves the impression of its having been an
assignment met with only marginal enthusiasm.
disc is rounded off with two charming romances that are nicely
played and pleasant as encores. This isn’t a press-stopper but
it is worth a listen. There is much for lovers of nineteenth
century music to enjoy.