ClassicsOnline Home » BEN-HAIM, P.: Symphony No. 1 / Fanfare to Israel / Symphonic Metamorphosis on a Bach Chorale (North German Radio Symphony, Yinon)
Of the works on this disc the Symphony and the Metamorphoses are early works, written while the composer was still Paul Frankenburger and living in his native Germany. The Symphony is a masterly work, in the Germanic traditional, yet much lighter and with much more movement than might be expected. Much of its material seems to anticipate the Jewish music than Ben Haim would encounter and assimilate after his escape to Palestine in 1933. In mood and technique it reminds me a lot of Walton's Symphony No. 1.
The Metamorphoses is a beautiful work because the composer chose a beautiful theme by Bach and elaborated skillfully on it. It is amusing to hear, in the middle of this work an extended Middle Eastern sensuous reverie in the Song of Songs mode. The Fanfare to Israel is an unexpectedly reflective piece, and quite a substantial one.more....