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Orchestral music by
Julius Burger,
reviewed by

Toccata Classics    TOCC 0001

Julius Burger orchestral music. © 2007 Toccata Classics

Julius Burger was born in Vienna the year Brahms died and lived through to 1995. He was one of the many who escaped Nazi tyranny to live and work in the USA where, sadly, his reputation as a composer was overshadowed by his necessary work as a conductor, and also as an arranger of operettas for the BBC in London.

Included on this CD are two of his early songs for baritone and orchestra, sung by Michael Kraus, both of grandeur and breadth, being luxuriously of their times (Mahler perhaps, but certainly Franz Schrecker one of whose remarkable pupils he was) [listen -- track 1, 1:38-2:43].

The Cello Concerto was written in 1938 and, despite the tragic circumstances of its genesis, maintains a serenity that is inspiring [listen -- track 4, 6:53-8:16].

A Symphonic Scherzo for strings dates from a year later, and the set of eleven Variations on a theme of Karl Philipp Emanuel Bach [listen -- track 6, 0:00-0:18] marks the close of his compositional activity -- a strong and inventive series of imaginative short orchestral movements, made with perhaps more masterly skill than the less cohesive larger pieces, and yet a colourful ear for the orchestra [listen -- track 17, 0:00-0:23].

The booklet is informative, though timings for the Cello Concerto are oddly quite wrong. This is a composer who is well remembered by these fine recordings.

Copyright © 16 February 2008 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


Julius Burger: Orchestral Music

TOCC 0001 DDD Stereo REISSUE 78'23" 1994 Sony BMG Music Entertainment, 2007 Toccata Classics

Michael Kraus, baritone; Maya Beiser, cello; Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra; Simone Young, conductor

Julius Burger (1897-1995): Stille der Nacht (c1919) for baritone and orchestra; Scherzo for Strings (1939); Cello Concerto (1938) (Allegro; Adagio; Allegro vivace); Variations on a Theme of Karl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1945) (Theme, Andante grazioso; Variation 1, Energico; Variation 2, Allegro moderato; Variation 3, Lento; Variation 4, Presto alla breve; Variation 5, Giusto tempo; Variation 6, Vivace; Variation 7, Andante sostenuto; Variation 8, Allegretto, grazioso; Variation 9, Allegro; Variation 10, Adagio; Variation 11, Scherzo (Presto); Coda, Solenne); Legende (c1919) for baritone and orchestra


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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular series of shorter CD reviews