A spring symphony from anniversary composer Joachim Raff

Here is a third symphony on the theme of spring in four days! This one is not so well known as the works we have enjoyed from Dvořák and Schumann – but it was well-received in its time.

Composer Joachim Raff was born 200 years ago this month. A big part of his prodigious output of compositions are the eleven symphonies, of which the last four are based on the four seasons.

That means the Symphony no.8 in A major, his Op.205, is based on spring, taking the title Frühlingsklänge (Sounds of Spring) Completed in 1876, it is mostly a bright and airy piece, with elements of Mendelssohn, Brahms and Schumann but also with Raff’s own fresh melodic inspiration.

The first movement delights in Spring’s Return, while the second – During Walpurgis Night – is much darker. The slow Larghetto, subtitled With the first bunch of flowers, is a tender aside, before the energetic Wanderlust completes a most enjoyable piece. Have a listen below, in a recording available on CPO from the Philharmonia Hungarica and conductor Werner Andreas Albert: