In 2010, Naxos teamed up with JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra to create history with the release of a disc of music by Marcel Tyberg—his Symphony No 3 and the Piano Trio (Naxos 8.572236), works dating from the late 1930s.
Tyberg is, or was, the ‘lost’ composer of what is now Croatia, and the story of his remarkable rediscovery is rekindled by the release of a follow-up disc containing his Symphony No 2 and the Second Piano Sonata (Naxos 8.572822).
Born in 1893, Tyberg’s musical upbringing saw him become proficient on piano and organ, but his heart lay in composing. His family left Austria to take up residence on the Italian Adriatic coast, where he developed a friendship with one of his most devoted students, Enrico Mihich, a bond that was destined to be physically severed by the tragic consequences of World War Two. Tyberg was partly Jewish, and when he realised that he might be displaced, he entrusted all of his scores to the Mihich family. His premonitions were realised; he was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where he met his death in 1944.
The Mihich family also fell victim to the violent aftershocks of the war. Moving to the United States, they carried little with them, but had the presence of mind not to abandon Tyberg’s treasured manuscripts.
Sixty years later, Enrico (by now a surgeon in Buffalo in the state of New York) showed the cherished possessions to conductor JoAnn Falletta. Klaus Heymann, founding chairman of Naxos, provided a kiss of life to the music through his unwavering interest in unknown and lesser-known repertoire, agreeing to make recordings of works that, for decades, had completely fallen off the radar. Live performances have since taken place in Croatia; the homecoming is complete.
The rehabilitation of Tyberg’s music has met with an enthusiastic recognition of his skill and inventiveness as a composer. As Philip Nones noted in his review on Amazon, the recordings represent much more than an historical curiosity: “…we have in Tyberg’s symphonies real treasures of the late-romantic Central European idiom. And what a master of melody the composer was!”
Robert Markow of Fanfare consolidates this opinion: “…richly romantic music with strong echoes of Bruckner, Mahler, Zemlinsky, and Szymanowski in his Third Symphony. …the symphony unfolds in bold colors and sweeping gestures. The Piano Trio of 1936 is, if anything, even more engaging, filled as it is with big-boned, sumptuous themes and rich textures right out of Schumann, Brahms, Franck, and Tchaikovsky. Performances are first-rate.”
Why not take a few minutes to share the critics’ enthusiasm by enjoying the following clip?
Symphony No 3 – I. Andante maestoso – Solenne e sostenuto
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