Joseph Marx Orchestral Works a Welcome Reissue

I’m glad to have this recording back in print. ASV originally released their four-volume Joseph Marx set in 2003. This volume features three of his works written in older classical styles. In a way, they have a similar character to Resphigi’s “Ancient Airs and Dances.” That is, the music may be in an older style, but it’s filtered through modern sensibilities.

Alt-Wiener Serenaden (Old Vienna Serenades) is a wonderful blend of landler, Haydn pastiche, and Austrian folk music. All with a healthy dose of original material. If I were making a movie of Fin de Siecle Vienna, this is the score I’d use.

The Partita in modo antico harkens even further back. here the model is the late Renaissance modal harmonies of Palestrina. It reminded me of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis” without the Englishness (if that makes sense).

The Sinfonia in modo classico takes Haydn as its model. This time, though, Marx can’t resist some late-Romantic chromaticism. The blend of old and new (for the time) works.

Steven Sloane and Bochum Symphony Orchestra perform with sensitivity and assurance. The Partita and Sinfonia are both works for string orchestra. The ensemble has a good blend with a warm sound throughout. Sloane found the right balance in these works, I think.

There was the “old” style Marx was imitating, and the “modern” style he was actually writing in. Sloane manages to bring out both. I was able to appreciate the old/new and new/old qualities of these works.

As I said. I’m glad these recordings are back in print.

Joseph Marx: Orchestral Works, Vol. 2
Alt-Wiener Serenaden; Partita in modo antico; Sinfonia in modo classico
Bochum Symphony Orchestra; Steven Sloane, conductor
Naxos 8.573832

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