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Stephen Wright
American Record Guide, September 2017

Fire up the laser and tell me who wrote these symphonies. A few ideas are lifted from Beethoven, plus there’s the chugging dotted rhythms and syncopations of Schumann and the bustling feline string figures of Louis Spohr. I’d bet they’re by Franz Berwald or Ferdinand Ries. I’d never guess they were by the 20-year-old Wagner. Nothing here anticipates the great music dramas or leitmotif technique, though they do anticipate Schumann’s symphonies, still a decade out. Performances are spirited and polished, the sound good but a little lacking in blend. If you’ve ever wondered what Wagner was up to before devoting himself to opera, this is an affordable way to find out. © 2017 American Record Guide

Raymond J Walker
MusicWeb International, May 2017

The recording is excellent and bathed in a warm acoustic that does justice to the fine playing of the MDR Radio Symphony Orchestra. Jun Märkl conducts with a commendable degree of panache. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Gutman
Gramophone, May 2017

The E major Symphony was clearly intended to be a softer-grained, more Schubertian piece than its predecessor, despite taking off from either the Scherzo of Beethoven’s Ninth or his Fidelio Overture. While neither conductor allows the argument to hang fire, I warmed to the more visceral quality of Märkl’s Leipzig Radio forces, partly attributable to Naxos’s closely focused sound. Audiophiles may prefer Glasgow’s wider-open space. Both conductors give us the classically prescribed first-movement exposition repeat.

Still, it’s the C major that leaves the stronger impression, with Märkl finding real virility in the up-tempo movements where Wagner’s motivic allusions to Beethoven can seem naive. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, May 2017

I’d heard this work some years ago, and was not terribly impressed, probably because the conductor and orchestra were not up to the level of excellence that Jun Märkl and the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra display here. © 2017 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review

Blair Sanderson, April 2017

…Jun Märkl and the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra play the Allegro movements with great power and energy, giving the music an appropriate feeling of confidence and bombast, while the slow movements convey the lyricism that is Wagner’s most recognizable trait at this early stage. © 2017 Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, April 2017

The music brings a goodly amount of delight. These are no masterpieces but they weather surprisingly well. Anyone who wants to trace Wagner’s development will find this CD enlightening, but also a good listen in itself. © 2017 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Michael Wilkinson
MusicWeb International, April 2017

Performances here are clear and committed. Jun Märkl has the measure of the score, and it is good indeed to be reminded of the depth and musical richness of the various radio orchestras found in Germany… © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Robert Benson, April 2017

These Wagner symphonies are very well played by the Leipzig orchestra, and audio is excellent. © 2017 Read complete review

Paul Corfield Godfrey
MusicWeb International, March 2017

…Märkl’s accounts [are] eminently satisfactory, and the recordings are lively and responsive. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2017

Richard Wagner was nineteen when he embarked on his first symphony, the score performed with success in Prague in 1832, but subsequently sank into oblivion. Maybe that is where the story would have ended had Wagner not become one of the world’s great opera composers, a fact that has engendered an inquisitive interest in this youthful work. It owes everything to the influence of Beethoven as is evidenced in the opening chords, the work then introduced by a stately sostenuto section before embarking on the energetic Allegro. The Andante second movement has attractive melodic material; the jog-trot scherzo is likeable, and if the finale is too short, it has an energetic pulse to commend it. It is now fifty-five years ago that I first reviewed a recording of the work, as a ‘fill-up’ to Bruckner’s Third Symphony on two LP’s, and at the time I thought it was a very fine work. The disc sleeve credited it as being a world premiere recording that, ironically, was also from the Leipzig Radio Orchestra, though the present release makes no mention of it. So it has been a visit down ‘memory lane’ that I have enjoyed, the work here coupled with the unfinished symphony Wagner wrote as a follow-up, though he had reached no further than the second movement when his founding of a new era of Germanic opera took over his life. Jun Markl obtains warm and committed performances, the recording, which dates back to 2012, just needing a little more air around the sound to be in the top quality. © 2017 David’s Review Corner

Records International, March 2017

Nice to have a mid-price version of this coupling since Chandos and Neeme Järvi have the only other CD recording available of the E major symphony of 1834 which consists only of a 13-minute first movement and half a slow movement where Wagner already sounds less like his previous models in the C major symphony of 1832 (Weber and Beethoven). © 2017 Records International

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