Woyrsch: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5
Dorsch, Thomas; NDR Radiophilharmonie
As a composer coping with the symphonic legacy of Beethoven, Handel, and Brahms, it was difficult for Felix Woyrsch to develop his own idea of the symphony, especially since he did not aspire to break with the past but sought a negotiable path on which he could continue the symphonic tradition of the nineteenth century in his own personal way. However, our previous two releases featuring this composer’s symphonies clearly show that he belonged to a generational group including Richard Wetz, Wilhelm Berger, Felix Weingartner, and Paul Juon whose members exercised due caution in the further development of the classical-romantic tradition, each one in his own way, and specifically enriched the generic history of the symphony with important nuances. Woyrsch’s Symphony No. 4 is about the same length as his third such work but in contrast to it built on melodic ideas of greater concision not rarely generating sharp contrasts within a short space. It is a work of abrupt changes and unforeseen modulations. In his Symphony No. 5 Woyrsch very much continues on the path taken by him in his earlier symphonies, though here he presents his ideas in extraordinarily concentrated form. He prescribes an orchestral ensemble almost just as large as the one in the fourth symphony but its dimensions are clearly more compact. “And again something of compelling force emanates from this music.” (klassik-heute).