MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2023
Approaching 60,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs
 

Presto Music CD retailer
 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for
advertisements

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

TROUBADISC
Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews


FOGHORN Classics

Alexandra-Quartet
Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews


All HDTT reviews


Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World


all Nimbus reviews



all tudor reviews


Follow us on Twitter


Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

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



 

 



Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews



all Bridge reviews


all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews


All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews

 

Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing