Juon: Rhapsodische Sinfonie, Op. 95 & Sinfonietta
Jenkins, Graeme; Bamberger Symphoniker
After the composer Paul Juon had resigned from his professorship at the Berlin College of Music in 1934, he retired to the shores of Lake Geneva, where he wrote a series of remarkable orchestral works over a period of six years. These works by the Moscow-born Juon, whose ancestors had immigrated to Russia from Switzerland, included his last two symphonies, which once again display all his special qualities as a teller of musical tales and a lyrical and playful tone poet. The Rhapsodic Symphony op. 95 composed in 1937-38 is a grand narrative on the topic of the music with which Juon had concerned himself during the course of his life: Nordic and Russian tones can be heard in it as well as reminiscences of contemporary Central European music from Mahler to Strauss. Juon completed the Sinfonietta capricciosa op. 98, his last major composition for orchestra and a work that may be said to represent the reverse side of the "rhapsodic coin," in the summer of 1939. It has a classical three-movement structure and is kept simple in its form but is so "capricious" and intricate that like its elder sister work it only gradually reveals its full wealth – which means that here the process of musical discovery occurs in phases that are all the more fascinating because they too gradually bring to light new allusions and increase our associative pleasure with each new listening experience.