Blumenfeld, Felix


Blumenfeld, Felix

Symphonie en ut Op. 39

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Felix Mikhaylovich Blumenfeld – Symphony Op.39 in C minor

(b. Kovalevka, 7 April 1863 – d. Moscow, 21 January 1931)

I. Adagio lugubre–Allegro [–Tranquillo (ma non più lento)–Tranquillo–Largamente, ma poco–
Meno mosso–Adagio (Tempo I) –]
II. Larghetto [–Poco più mosso–Tempo I]
III. Allegro con fuoco [–Poco meno mosso–Tempo I–]
IV. “Epilogue”: Largo [–Largo grandioso]

Felix Mikhaylovich Blumenfeld is widely known as a brilliant pianist and influential music teacher with a long and successful career at the Conservatories of St Petersburg (1895-1905 and 1912-18), Kiev (1920-22), and Moscow (1922-31), as well as the Mariinsky Theatre conductor who gave the world premieres of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Servilia (1902) and Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya (1907), while also introducing the Russian audience to Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde (1899) and Scriabin’s Symphony No.3 (‘Divine Poem’) (1906).

In addition to being an exceptionally gifted musician, Blumenfeld was also a talented composer who studied under Rimsky-Korsakov at the St Petersburg Conservatory. His musical output, however, remains largely on the periphery of the repertoire, despite being occasionally brought to light – mostly through certain remarkable recordings. His works that usually enjoy the highest level of recognition are his many piano pieces, the majority of which is written in a virtuosic style, while his vocal music and his, admittedly few, chamber and orchestral works are less frequently discussed.

Among his large-scale works, it is his Symphony that has drawn the most attention; it is a remarkable composition with moments of immense beauty, which is the sole representative of this genre in Blumenfeld’s output.

Entitled Symphony-Fantasy on the concert programme, the work was premiered on January 20, 1907 in St Petersburg, during one of the prestigious Alexander Ilyich Ziloti subscription concerts, with Blumenfeld as a conductor.

In 1909, M.P. Belaieff Editions, the sheet music publishing house founded by the rich patron Mitrofan Belyayev with the aim of promoting Russian music, published the full orchestral score, parts, and piano reduction of Blumenfeld’s Symphony as his opus 39 (M.P. Belaieff catalogue numbers: 2780, 2781 and 2782 respectively). The work, entitled Symphonie für grosses Orchester op.39/ Symphonie en ut pour grand Orchestre op.39 would be subsequently subtitled “Dem Andenken der Teuren Toten,” or “A la mémoire des chers defunts,” a dedication alluding to its conception as an homage to those who were killed during the violent events following the 1905 Russian Revolution. …


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Score No.






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