Time For Me to Read The Moviegoer Again

Chausson: Symphony in Bb, Op. 20

If you read the comments on the recent Delius post, you read me verbally scratching my head about this symphony, in response to Rob G's recommendation of the composer:

I'm puzzled and slightly disturbed. A Chausson symphony was one of the first things I listened to out of the Fr. Dorrel trove, and I could have sworn I wrote about it here. I do remember what I was going to say about it, which was that I wasn't extremely keen on it, that it was in the "ok" class. And that the part (a movement I guess) that I liked the best was one that most resembled his more well-known work, the Poeme for violin (and orchestra?). But I can't find any mention of his name on the blog. It's not among the unpublished posts, either (of which I see there are more than I realized). So apparently I never actually wrote about it...wonder if I started it on paper, which I do sometimes....?... Anyway, that's my Chausson opinion.

To my relief, the mystery is solved, and my memory is not totally delusional. On my computer I found a text file with the same title as this post, containing a few notes for the intended post. Obviously I never got around to actually writing it. It says, in a few sentence fragments, what I said in that comment. Admitting that I would be damning it with faint praise, I said that it was good, but that I couldn't help comparing to to Mahler's Fifth.

I don't remember now exactly what in the music prompted the comparison, which is quite unfair, but the Mahler was very much on my mind because a good friend had just been recommending it to me. No, that's not strong enough: she had been strongly urging me to get better acquainted with it, going to the length of mailing me a DVD of a performance by the Lucerne Festival Orchestra conducted by Andris Nelsons. My friend's right about the symphony.  Of course. And I really liked that performance, better than the late '70s one with James Levine and the Philadelphia Orchestra that I have on CD. Maybe it was the quality of the digitally remastered sound but the Levine one seemed too aggressive somehow.

And I really shouldn't have listened to anything composed in the late 19th or early 20th centuries for at least two weeks afterward. 

There are several performances of the Chausson symphony on YouTube.


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I have a CD of the symphony but haven't listened to it in a good while. It's his smaller scale works that I'm more familiar with. I have two CD's of his his chamber music, and I thought I had a recording of some works for solo piano but I was wrong about that (unless the CD is not where it's supposed to be).

(Upon further research both Amazon and Discogs tell me that such a CD does not exist, therefore it's highly unlikely that I have it. I do however have a Chabrier solo piano disc and that's probably what I was thinking of.)

I'm trying to remember what, besides proximity, made me compare the Chausson symphony to the Mahler. I think there was something about the first movement that in the context seemed sort of Mahler Lite to me.

Speaking of piano music by people with Latin names :-) : I have a set of solo piano works by Albeniz that has some great stuff. There are something like 5 discs so I don't think I've ever gotten all the way through them.

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