Joachim RAFF (1822-1882)
WoO.16 (1853) [10:05]
, Psalm 130 op.140 (1867) [40:11]
WoO.32 (1869) [7:55]
WoO.33 (1869) [6:29]
Vier Marianischen Antiphonen
WoO.27 (1867) [15:10]
Susanna Andersson (soprano)
Karlstad Kammerchör; Stockholm Singers
GöteborgsOperans Orkester/Henrik Schaefer; Bo Aurehl
rec. 25 May 2012, Gothenburg Concert Hall, 16-18 October 2011, Stora
Kil church, Sweden. DDD
STERLING CDS 1098
We have not been exactly overrun with recordings of this composer’s
music for choir and orchestra - still less his music for the church.
For this and other reasons this disc, arriving as part of Sterling’s
rather special Raff series (CDS1085-2
is multiply welcome.
The first two works are for voices and orchestra while the last six
are a cappella
We launch with a stirringly regal Te Deum
in three segments:
a clamorous and forthright Te Deum laudamus
, a romantic and all-but
Tchaikovskian Te Ergo
and a gloriously exciting In Te Domine
. It’s compact and enjoyably theatrical. Played to
an innocent ear audience I wonder how many would guess this was the
work of Raff.
This is followed by a seriously symphonic length De Profundis
It has an emotion-stilling orchestral introduction which is followed
by five meaty choral episodes. The writing sounds weightily Brahmsian
yet manages serenity also. The mood is suitably grave yet lightened
by many well calculated orchestral touches like the pizzicato near the
start of Si inquitates
and the jaunty fanfares that open the
fugal finale, Et ipse rediment
. Susanna Andersson can be heard
in the serenely ambling Quia apud te
- she is a devoted advocate
for this Mozartian music, if a little tremulous. Those who have a taste
for Brahms’ German Requiem
should try this for a change.
It’s by no means the same but is in the same mood territory. Only
in the Allegro finale is the spell broken with a joyously active celebration.
Raff knows how to end proceedings in grandeur. One can see here part
of the mulch from which Schmidt’s much later Book of the Seven
The a cappella Pater Noster
, Ave Maria
are all prayerfully impassioned and are
redolent of the devotional music of earlier times - Raff connecting
with roots in the 16th
final Salve Regina
- the last of the Marian Antiphons - is quite
The orchestra gains an emphasis at times at the expense of the choir
which at various times I suspect could, with advantage, have been larger.
There were no such thoughts when it came to the purely choral works.
The disc is completed by a 32 page booklet stuffed to the edges with
useful and readable English-only notes by Dr Avrohom Leichtling.
Thus another portal is opened on Raff’s dust-covered heritage
to show us that he is not to be celebrated merely as the orchestrator
of the Liszt tone poems and the writer of eleven symphonies (Tudor
For more about Raff don’t miss Mark Thomas’s Raff website
and the invaluable Joachim
where I learn that Sterling has recently completed
sessions for the final salvo in the series. It will involve a double
CD of orchestral music including Raff's orchestration and arrangement
of Liszt's Prometheus
overture, the intermezzi from the Welt-Ende
and a reconstruction of the incidental music to Bernhard von Weimar
Henrik Schaefer will again conduct the Gothenburg Opera Orchestra.