Pals: Symphony No. 1
Goritzki, Johannes; Helsingborgs Symfoniorkester
Leopold van der Pals was born to a Dutch father and a Danish mother in St. Petersburg and became a cosmopolitan who counted many of Europe’s leading artistic personalities among his acquaintances and studied with Reinhold Glière in Berlin for a few months in 1907. Glière had just written his second symphony and presumably motivated his young pupil to compose his Symphony in F sharp minor, which was premiered with remarkable success by the Berlin Philharmonic. “He already has something to say; he has thoughts and ideas,” as the Signale für die musikalische Welt wrote at the time, and in fact more compositions followed, which – without a cramped quest for originality – represented the very best of modern music. Even then the theosophical movement showed van der Pals a path to follow in the future; its German exponent Rudolf Steiner greatly impressed him, and when Steiner founded the Anthroposophical Society, he espoused this new idea in much of his creative work. His special relationship with nature and its constant changes led to the composition of works such as the two symphonic sketches Frühling und Herbst op. 14 (Spring and Autumn). This highly atmospheric music of individual character situated between neoromanticism, impressionism, and the ecstatic poems of Alexander Scriabin displays the same remarkable organic power and instrumental mastery that also makes the poetic study of the soul in Wieland der Schmied op. 23 (Wieland the Smith) an absolutely fascinating listening experience.