Marcel Tyberg: Unoriginal, Maybe, but Still Good

Review by: David Hurwitz

Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 8

Marcel Tyberg’s Second Symphony sounds a bit like Bruckner for people who hate Bruckner. It features thematic material uncannily similar to Tyberg’s Austrian predecessor, only married to a more traditional, pithy approach to form. It lasts just 42 minutes, and so in comparison confirms Bruckner’s own originality, or incompetence, depending on your perspective. There’s nothing here that might make you sit up and say, “Aha, that must be Tyberg,” but it is beautifully scored, well-made music nonetheless. The Adagio is particularly lovely, basically diatonic in harmony, but with tunes that never go exactly where you expect them to. Had Tyberg survived the Second World War and written more in this vein, we might go so far as to call it “personal”.

The Piano Sonata No. 2 dwells squarely in the world of Beethoven and Brahms, but again with remarkable success. It’s a large work in four movements, and even more than in the symphony the centerpiece is an Adagio drawn on a very large scale. The finale, so often the Achilles’ heel in Romantic music, is actually the shortest movement, but full of contrast and quite satisfying, thus revealing that Tyberg’s classical sympathies go beyond mere imitation.

The sonata is very well played by Fabio Bidini, a pianist who takes its challenges in stride and shapes each movement quite effectively. As in the previous release in this series, JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic take charge of the orchestral component, offering a performance of the symphony full of character and conviction. The Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies in Buffalo sponsored this recording through its Marcel Tyberg Musical Legacy Fund. That such a thing even exists is just one of those facts that makes you feel good about life, as does Tyberg’s music. Go for it.



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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: No reference recording


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