Louisville Orchestra

Riegger: Variations, Symphony No. 4

Wallingford Riegger was an American composer who is completely ignored today. That’s a shame because Riegger was truly gifted. His Music for Brass Choir is one of the greatest modern brass pieces, and his Symphony No. 3, once heard on classical radio, was in the curriculum of music schools. Then came the great dumbing down in classical music. Riegger’s music, direct and whimsical, is also uncompromising and even violent, so look out! This disc, recorded in the 1950s, contains his Symphony No. 4. Try the second movement. Short motives, like mysterious clues in a Hitchcock film, morph into a galloping, oddly Spanish theme and then into strange motives again. The outer movements mix pleasant melodies with harsh climaxes. This is great music that you’ll never hear over local radio.