Tone Poem Tuesday

“Well, he must be too busy for a real post today, since he’s sharing something by Franz von Suppe!”

And that, Dearest Reader, is where you’re wrong! Because even though I am posting something by Franz von Suppe, it is not because his overtures are my go-to for when I’m too busy to actually say something about the work in question. Suppe is, of course, best known as the composer of a number of scintillating overtures (which have remained in the standard repertoire, especially for performances of “light” music) to operettas (which have almost entirely not). But those operettas and their overtures only represent the very surface of his output; Suppe was a prolific composer who worked in many genres, which leads me to hope more of his music may resurface and gain new attention…as did the current work.

Apparently conductor Ola Rudner found Suppe’s Fantasia symphonica languishing in an archive somewhere in Vienna, and now, after some musicological work to restore it, the work has been recorded, led by Rudner himself. The piece is, for all intents and purposes, a symphony; one wonders why Suppe didn’t just call it a symphony, and I wonder if it’s a combination of expectations for a composer of light theater music and the fact that the work is rather on the short side for a symphony of the Romantic era (didn’t stop Borodin, but he was Russian, and the rules were a little different in Imperial Russia), and it ends with some bombast that is decidedly unsymphonic. No matter; this is a delightful work that I am deeply glad has been found and brought forward. Hopefully there are more wonderful works by Franz von Suppe awaiting rediscovery!

Here is Fantasia Symphonica by Franz von Suppe…and not because I’m too busy!


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