The Guild label’s mission to restore Volkmar Andreae to the “pantheon of 20th century Swiss composers” continues apace with the third release of his orchestral works, with the excellent Bournemouth Symphony conducted by the composer’s grandson Marc Andreae.
The Symphony in F was composed when he was just 20 and was his first large-scale orchestral work. Its debt to Brahms is undeniable, but it also shows the Wagnerian influence of Andreae’s teacher Franz Wüllner, who premiered Das Rheingold and Die Walküre. Andreae is best known for his recordings of the Bruckner symphonies and it is obvious from this early work that he has studied the Austrian master’s command of symphonic structure.
Andreae was offered to succeed Mahler as conductor of the New York Philharmonic but preferred to stay with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich. However, like Mahler he did compose some settings of poems by Li-Po after Hermann Hesse pointed out the Tang dynasty poet’s works. Li-Tai-Pe, here beautifully sung by English tenor Benjamin Hulett, is the jewel in the crown of this album. The eight songs are worth the purchase price alone. However John Anderson’s performance of the Concertino for Oboe and Orchestra is definitely an added bonus. In all, an enjoyable collection that whets the appetite for more from this excellent composer.