One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

To gain a 10% discount, use the link below & the code MusicWeb10

Paul BÜTTNER (1870-1943)
Heroic Overture (1925) [14:07]
Symphony No. 4 in B minor (1918) [40:59]
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra/Gerhard Pflüger, Hans-Peter Frank (overture)
rec. 1965 (symphony), 1974 (overture), details of location not supplied
STERLING CDS10482 [55:50]

Dresdener Paul Büttner is another in Sterling's sequence of northern European Romantics whose name was completely unknown to me. Checking on Presto and ArkivMusic revealed that this is the only recording of his music currently available, so I don’t feel too bad about my ignorance of his existence.

He studied composition with Felix Draeseke at the Dresden conservatory. He also taught there for a long time, finishing as artistic director, before his opposition to the Nazis led to his removal in 1933. He wrote widely across the musical spectrum, and conductors such as Arthur Nikisch and Fritz Reiner included his works in their concerts.

This background was very encouraging, but alas, I found these two works rather uninspiring. Certainly, they are pleasant enough, the overture appropriately grand, the symphony intermittently stirring and melodic but each overstays its welcome, running out of steam well before the end. The overture, despite being written later, is a melange of Schumann and Brahms. As for the symphony, it is a far superior work, which shows a strong Brucknerian influence, but also that of Wagner, especially in the finale. This movement perhaps best illustrates the problems I had with these works. Drop in at any point and listen for thirty seconds, and you will hear a familiar voice, be it Wagner, Bruckner, even Beethoven. Where is Büttner’s voice among all this? This was his final symphony, and given that it was written mid-career, one might expect that it should be his best effort in the genre. If that be so, then it doesn’t raise much expectation for the first three.

Performances are, at the very least, adequate and in the case of the symphony, much better than that. Recording quality is likewise serviceable, but hardly the last word in clarity, although the densely orchestrated works themselves would have contributed to that. The booklet notes are as thorough as one could expect for such an obscure name.

Aficionados of the unsung composer will doubtless see this as a desirable release, but as so often is the case, there is a good reason why the composer has been forgotten.

David Barker

Previous review: Rob Barnett



 

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger