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August 27, 2010

In August, Naxos will release the world premier recording of two works by a previously unknown composer—Marcel Tyberg—whose brilliant musical voice was silenced when he was killed at Auschwitz in 1944. The journey from death to rebirth took place in Buffalo, where JoAnn Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, learned about this extraordinary composer through an unexpected source—a student of the composer who had cherished and cared for his manuscripts for sixty years.

BPO musicians check discrepancies in the score of Tyberg’s third symphony

Falletta was visited in her dressing room in 2005 by Dr Henry Mihich, a noted doctor at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. Mihich carried with him a shopping bag filled with faded, crumbling manuscripts that he was eager to share with Falletta. He told a tragic story of his beloved young music teacher, Marcel Tyberg, who had lived and worked in the Mihich’s home town of Abbazia, Italy. Tyberg had earned a living teaching and writing popular music under the pen name of Till Bergmar, but his artistic passion found its true outlet in many serious concert works including symphonies, masses, and chamber music. Tyberg’s mother reported their partly Jewish heritage (as mandated by the authorities) and in effect signed Tyberg’s death warrant. When it became clear that he would be taken by the Nazis, Tyberg entrusted his entire body of compositions to the Mihich family, who had preserved it for all those years. Tyberg was murdered in Auschwitz on December 31, 1944, and the Mihich family fled Europe, taking his music with them.

TYBERG Symphony No 3, Piano Trio
Michael Ludwig, violin
Roman Mekinulov, cello
Ya-Fei Chuang, piano
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
JoAnn Falletta, conductor


Rescued from oblivion before his tragic death in Auschwitz in 1944, Marcel Tyberg’s Symphony No. 3 sets out on a poetic journey with shades of Schumann and Brahms, Bruckner and Mahler, playful instrumental filigrees, colourful counterpoint and captivating harmonies. This sweeping work for large orchestra received its première performances by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by JoAnn Falletta, finally giving voice to a composer who never heard his masterpiece performed. Tyberg’s chamber music also demonstrates his deep respect for 19thcentury musical modes and manners; imbued with the spirit of Beethoven and Mendelssohn, his Piano Trio brims with a richly Romantic esprit.

Dr Mihich had tried for many years to interest conductors in performing the music without success. Falletta is sympathetic to those who were unwilling to deal with the music. “The manuscripts were faded, disintegrating and almost impossible to read. It took many many hours to even begin to decipher them. But they were very much worth the effort!” Falletta discovered a wealth of stunning music, in a highly individual voice which showed influences of the great Austrian masters Bruckner and Mahler. She and the orchestra proposed this unknown music to Naxos, and together they decided to record both the Third Symphony and the Trio, in an effort to introduce Tyberg’s symphonic and chamber style together in the first CD of his music. The August release will be an important chapter in this story of a reclusive creative genius whose work has been resurrected by Naxos and the Buffalo Philharmonic in an amazing rediscovery.

JoAnn Falletta

Falletta continues “The Buffalo Philharmonic musicians whole-heartedly embraced this project, and their attention to detail and desire to uncover the mysteries of this symphony were very inspiring. Our concertmaster Michael Ludwig and principal cellist Roman Mekinulov undertook the challenge of deciphering Tyberg’s Trio. Both pieces revealed music of profound beauty, ingenious orchestration and vibrant neo-romanticism, and astonished the audiences who heard them.” Falletta and the BPO plan to continue their exploration of Marcel Tyberg with performances and recordings of his other symphonies. “We are very grateful to Naxos for their willingness to explore and uncover wonderful music that would otherwise linger in oblivion. They have been superb partners in our quest to resurrect the music of the forgotten Marcel Tyberg.”

Michael Ludwig Biography & Discography

Roman Mekinulov Biography & Discography

Ya Fei Chuang Biography & Discography

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Biography & Discography

JoAnn Falletta Biography & Discography

Marcel Tyberg Biography & Discography


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