Top 12 great symphonies you probably haven't heard

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Erich Korngold 

Symphony in F-sharp major (1952)

Erich Korngold’s (1897-1957) Symphony in F-sharp minor was his attempt to reinvent himself as a serious composer after WWII. The attempt failed: Dimitri Mitropoulos was to conduct the premiere, but died, and the work waited until 1972, long after Korngold’s own death, for its premiere. Korngold had certainly found a new voice. The work is of epic proportions and completely tonal, with a wonderfully muscular first movement of jagged syncopations. Only in the Scherzo do we hear an echo of the Warner Bros “swashbuckling” idiom. The Adagio is very dark – in the Bruckner/Mahler tradition. The final movement is the only slightly weak link, with rather playful references to the popular US WWI song Over There. Still, this symphony is infinitely superior to s ome of Shostakovich’s rambling efforts. GK
 
Essential recording

Symphony; Much Ado About Nothing Suite

London Symphony/André Previn
Deutsche Grammophon 453436

All the available recordings of this symphony have their merits, but this lush 1997 disc wins first prize. 

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Top 12 great symphonies you probably haven't heard
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