Simon Gaudenz brings out the highs in Carl Loewe symphonies

For 45 years Carl Loewe was at the center of musical life in Stettin, Poland. He was organist at the largest church. He taught music and conducted public performances.

Loewe organized chamber recitals and musical salons. He even managed concerts for the Masonic lodges. And he composed — a lot. Over 400 works are credited to the “Schubert of North Germany” as he was known.

This release presents his two symphonies, written in 1834 and 1835 respectively. There’s a reason contemporaries compared Loewe to Schubert. These symphonies seem to have been created in a burst of unbridled enthusiasm — much like Schubert’s.

That’s not to say they’re unstructured. Far from it. Loewe also shared an instinct for organization with his contemporary Felix Mendelssohn. There are plenty of gorgeous melodies in these works (a la Schubert). But the themes are clearly presented and worked through logically (a la Mendelssohn).

Simon Gaudenz leads the Jenaer Philharmonie in some energetic performances. Loewe’s symphonies are full of drama, and Gaudenz ensures we experience every ounce of it. The ensemble has the power for the thundering climaxes. And they can also play with hushed restraint as required.

These days, Carl Loewe is only remembered as Emilie Mayer’s composition teacher. But his own music’s worth exploring as these two symphonies demonstrate.

Great fun.

Carl Loewe: Symphonies 1 & 2
Overture Themisto
Jenaer Philharmonie; Simon Gaudenz, conductor

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