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'The Lost Generation' Is New From The Orchestra Now

Avie Records

The Lost Generation: Music byAdolph Busch, Hans Erich Apostel, Hugo Kauder – The Orchestra Now (TŌN)/Leon Botstein (Avie 2684)

If you’ve seen the Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro, you’ve seen and heard The Orchestra Now. It’s a New York-based graduate-level training orchestra founded by conductor and music historian Leon Botstein. This is their first recording for Avie and it brings together three German-speaking composers who were contemporaries of Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg, but whose music became suppressed by historical events of the 20th century. In November 2022, Botstein and The Orchestra Now gave the US premiere of Hugo Kauder’s Symphony No. 1 of 1921. The largely self-taught Moravian-born composer had a distinguished career in Vienna until he was forced to flee the Nazis and arrived in New York in 1938. The work was dedicated to Alma Mahler and the music is a unique intermingling of the language of Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler. German-born, Austrian composer Hans Erich Apostel studied with Schoenberg and Berg. His works incorporated his mentors’ expressionism and 12-tone methods. Apostel’s Variations on a theme by Haydn is an homage to the second movement of the Symphony No. 103, the ‘Drum Roll’, which itself is a set of variations on a theme. Adolf Busch, one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century, was a staunch opponent of Nazism, and left his native Germany, arriving first in Switzerland and eventually the United States in 1939. His Variations on an Original Theme was originally for piano four hands, a Christmas gift to his wife in 1944. Busch’s longtime chamber music partner and son-in-law, pianist Rudolf Serkin, used to play the work with his son Peter, who made an orchestration of his grandfather’s composition, in a labor of love.