It’s nice to see this Joseph Marx recording back in print. It was originally released by Avie in 2003.
Marx actively opposed Schoenberg and his followers. He very strongly believed in the power of tonal music. Marx was a major figure in Vienna, and his music was frequently performed.
After World War II, his compositions were considered old-fashioned. By the time of his death in 1964, Marx was virtually forgotten.
And that’s a shame. For while his music is indeed tonal (almost reactionary), it’s quite beautiful.
His ambitious Natur-Trilogie is a model of late-Romantic composition. The orchestrations evoke moods and images as effectively as those of Richard Strauss. The shimmering harmonies rival those of Claude Debussy.
In fact, the composer this music most reminds me of was Arnold Bax.
The trilogy was intended as a single work, on par with Mahler’s grand symphonic statements. Practical considerations made that impossible, though. The work was broken into three stand-alone tone poems and never performed in its entirety.
While the three movements do work as individual pieces, they all belong to the same sonic world. Common motifs run throughout, binding the movements of the Nature Trilogy closely together.
The Bochum Symphony Orchestra deliver appealing performances. Maestro Steven Sloane brings out the sensual nature of this trilogy, making it a gorgeous treat for the ears. I’m happy this beautiful recording is back in print.
Joseph Marx: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1
Nature Trilogy: Symphonic Night Music; Idyll; Spring Music
Bochum Symphony Orchestra; Steven Sloane, conductor