August Klughardt: Symphony No 4

review klughardt x1 cong

We’ve been enjoying this CD (performed by the Anhaltische Philharmonie Dessau, with Antony Hermus). It’s got all the elements you expect from grandiose classical music but a lightness of touch and joi de vivre that make it easier to digest than some of the “great” works by the “masters”.
German-born Klughardt was no slouch: he took his first piano and music theory lessons at the age of 10 and began to compose his first pieces, which were performed by a music circle he had founded at school.
Wikipedia says that most of his output is nearly forgotten, though CPO has also released his Symphony No 3 and other work.
Wikipedia also calls Klughardt “a rather conservative composer”, which suggests someone slightly buttoned up, but this work is from someone who has a certain levity about him. The sleeve notes report that he was a fan of Wagner and some of the Teutonic grandeur of the latter can be heard in this work, though toned down for easier listening.
It’s clear that Klughardt is not quite as good as the more famous composers but he’s enjoyable for all that, even because of that. The music is clear and easy to get on with and if he doesn’t reach the heights, it’s not inaccessible or lofty either.
The opening movement (allegro non troppo) is a lively piece of contrasts while the second movement (andante cantible) is gentler. The third movement (presto) is again lively and has the feel of a country dance in places. The sleeve notes say the closing piece echoes elements of Wagner’s Ring. Out now on CPO, 777740-2.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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