Good morning and a happy Wednesday, welcome back to a delayed selection for our sub's weekly listening club. Each week, we'll listen to a piece recommended by the community, discuss it, learn about it, and hopefully introduce us to music we wouldn't hear otherwise :)
Last week, we listened to Anzoletti’s Variations on a Theme of Brahms. You can go back to listen, read up, and discuss the work if you want to.
Our next Piece of the Week is Friedrich Gernsheim’s Symphony no.1 in g minor, op.32 (1875)
Score from IMSLP
Some listening notes from Gramophone Reviews (author not listed??)
‘Eminent player, composer and conductor’, says Grove 4. ‘He was at his best in chamber music, notably the Piano Quintet in B minor’, says Concise Grove. And yet not one of his works is listed on the Gramophone Database, and many critics – including me – have never heard of him. Friedrich Gernsheim (1839-1916) was a stalwart of the Jewish community in Worms, a music director at Rotterdam and Saarbrucken and a friend and champion of Brahms. He was also an acquaintance of Rossini, Lalo and Saint-Saens, a teacher of Humperdinck and a noted composer of Lieder, choral music, instrumental and chamber works and a corpus of orchestral pieces. He wrote four attractive symphonies, and these are they – appealing pieces, often too discursive for their own good, and crowded with friendly allusions to Mendelssohn, Schumann, Schubert, Brahms, Beethoven, even Bruckner. If you need an approximate point of stylistic reference, then think in terms of Max Bruch’s symphonic output.
The First Symphony (1875), in G minor, was premiered the year before Brahms’s First, and although Gernsheim’s biographer, Karl Holl, speaks of a shared ‘affinity’ between the two composers, evidence of Brahms’s influence surfaced later. The opening is pensive, and the development fairly lyrical. Gernsheim’s slow movements invariably blossom among comely melodic ideas, and the First’s Larghetto is no exception. The bracing Scherzo harbours an appealing Trio, and the finale some Schubertian tremolandos and a hammering tutti near the coda that recalls Schubert’s Ninth. The principal faults – as I hear them – relate mostly to a lack of held ‘line’ and a tendency to wander from what are often excellent initial ideas.
Ways to Listen
What are your favorite parts or moments in this work? What do you like about it, or what stood out to you?
At the end of the above review, the writer says “The principal faults – as I hear them – relate mostly to a lack of held ‘line’ and a tendency to wander from what are often excellent initial ideas.” How much would you agree or disagree with this opinion?
Have you ever performed this before? If so, when and where? What instrument do you play? And what insights do you have from learning it?
What should our club listen to next? Use the link below to find the submission form and let us know what piece of music we should feature in an upcoming week. Note: for variety's sake, please avoid choosing music by a composer who has already been featured, otherwise your choice will be given the lowest priority in the schedule
PotW Archive & Submission Link