Carl Reinecke – Orchestral Works show influences

Carl Reinecke studied with Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, and Franz Liszt. And those influences can be heard in various works. For his piano concertos, it’s Liszt. For his symphonies, it’s more Mendelssohn/Schumann.

At least, that’s what I heard in this first installment of Reinecke’s orchestral works from CPO. It includes two of Reinecke’s symphonies, plus music from his opera König Manfred.

The 1858 Symphony No. 1 in A major shows the strongest Mendelssohn influence, particularly in the middle movements. The scherzo especially has some of Mendelssohn’s playfulness to it. The outer movements, though, reminded me more of Schumann in motivic development.

Reinecke’s third and final symphony, written in 1894 is a different matter. The material is more substantial, and the methodical working-out of motifs. The organization may be inspired by Brahms, but Reinecke has plenty to say on his own.

König Manfred (1867) may have been Reinecke’s most successful opera, but it’s virtually unperformed today. The various segments presented here (Overture, Romanze, and Act V Prelude) are all fine works. They’re stirring and dramatic. I can’t speak for the whole opera, but these orchestral excerpts are both tuneful and entertaining.

Henry Raudales and the Münchner Rundfunkorchester deliver some good performances. The orchestra has a mellow warmth to it that seems to suit Reinecke’s music. I look forward to future installments.

Carl Reinecke: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1
Münchner Rundfunkorchester; Henry Raudales, conductor
CPO 555 114

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