Karl Amadeus Hartmann (1905-1963) is one of the most significant but least-known symphonic composers of the 20th century. This set of three hybrid SACDs, issued to mark the 50th anniversary of the German composer's death, features his eight symphonies played by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and Chamber Philharmonic Orchestras under the batons of several major conductors, including Christoph Poppen, Osmo Vanska, James Gaffigan and Markus Stenz.
One of the most characteristic features of Hartmann's work is the way in which he forges contrasting stylistic elements and techniques from various periods of music history into a seamless unit. Moreover, one melody is found in all his symphonies, concealed to varying degrees. This melody is based on the Jewish song "Elijahu hanavi" about the prophet Elijah, whom the Jews anxiously await to bring them redemption. This yearning quality lies at the heart of the composer's music.
Two types of movement, adagio and scherzo, form the unmistakable axis of Hartmann's symphonic works, and the result is that the musical discourse continually takes place between expansion and energy, monumental stasis and a dynamic primal force toppling everything in its path. Hartmann's symphonic legacy most certainly deserves its rightful place in the canon, especially in English-speaking countries where it's been often overlooked.
Symphony No. 1, ‘Versuch eines Requiems’: I. Introduktion: Elend “Ich sitze und schaue aus”
Symphony No. 1, ‘Versuch eines Requiems’: II. Frühling - “Als jüngst der Flieder blühte”
Symphony No. 1, ‘Versuch eines Requiems’: III. Thema mit vier Variationen
Symphony No. 1, ‘Versuch eines Requiems’: IV. Tränen - “In der Nacht der Einsamkeit”
Symphony No. 1, ‘Versuch eines Requiems’: V. Epilog: Bitte - “Ich hörte die Allmutter”
Symphony No. 2: Adagio
Symphony No. 3: I. Largo ma non troppo - Allegro con fuoco (Virtuose Fuge)