Woldemar Bargiel — Romantic masterworks

Music talent definitely ran in the family. Woldemar Bargiel wasn’t just a well-respected composer. He was also the half-brother of Clara Wieck Schumann, a pianist and composer of no mean ability herself. Woldemar also won the respect of her husband Robert. He also worked closely with Brahms, co-editing editions of works by Chopin and Schumann.

Toccata Classics begin their traversal of Bargeil’s orchestral music with a major work and three characteristic ones.

Bargiel’s 1864 Symphony in C major seems a little old-fashioned, reminding me of Mendelssohn’s first symphony written 20 years before. Like that work, the influence of Beethoven is easy to hear.

Still, Bargiel’s symphony is a well-crafted work, delivering on the drama and heightened emotions that dominated the Romantic aesthetic. And Bargiel carefully devlops his motifs, bringing them through to logical and satisfying conclusions.

The remainder of the release features concert overtures, the genre that Bargiel was best known for. In these short works, Bargiel uses dramatic contrasts between instrumental groups to keep things moving. It’s easy to understand why they were popular. Bargiel delivers one tuneful episode after, catching up the listener in the excitement of the moment (well, at least this listener).

The Siberian Symphony Orchestra have a clean and balanced sound, and Dmitry Vasilyev should be given credit for directing performances that bring out the best in this music.

I can’t wait for volume two!

Woldemar Bargiel: Complete Orchestral Music, Vol. 1
Symphony in C major, Op. 30; Overture to a Tragedy, Op. 18; Overture to Promethues, Op. 16; Overture to Mediea, Op. 22
Siberian Symphony Orchestra; Dmitry Vasilyev, conductor
Toccata Classics, TOCC 0277

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