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Dip Your Ears, No. 144 (Papa Järvi's Raff)

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J.J.Raff, Symphony No.2, Shakespeare Preludes
N.Järvi / Orchestre de la Suisse Romande


From his bold First Symphony (“To the Fatherland”) to his four “Seasons” Symphonies (Nos. 8-11), Joseph Joachim Raff’s symphonic output is as important as it is ignored. Raff—who taught Liszt orchestration—combines dark Brahmsean ardor, Rheinbergerish touches, and Mendelssohn-flavors in his orchestral works. So much of Mendelssohn’s Second Symphony in the first movement of his own Second Symphony, in fact, that I scurried to look up the composition date: 1866. Mendelssohn, 1840. (Not suggesting anything.) Neem Järvi’s new recording gives the terrific Bamberg/Stadlmair recordings (Tudor, see Best of 2010) a run for their money, and benefits from great sound. It also includes the Four Shakespeare Preludes, not found on the Tudor set of the symphonies.