Music Director Neal Stulberg conducts the UCLA Philharmonia in … three hitherto unrecorded orchestral compositions by Eric Zeisl. Representing his Viennese years are his bold, richly scored (and not so little) Little Symphony: After Pictures of Roswitha Bitterlich (1935-36) and the intimate November: Six Sketches for Chamber Orchestra(1937-40). Epitomizing Zeisl’s maturity in Los Angeles is the dramatic Concerto Grosso for ‘Cello and Orchestra (1955-56), his last large-scale orchestral work [performed here by Yarlung star and GRAMMY winning ‘cellist Antonio Lysy].
In 1935, Zeisl attended a wildly popular exhibition of art works by Roswitha Bitterlich, a fourteen-year-old Tyrolean girl. Struck by her singular visions, the young composer feverishly drafted what proved to be his only symphony. He later recalled, “The paintings, that is rather the ideas behind the paintings, provided such a stimulus that immediately after coming home from the exhibition I started out to set these ideas in music and completed the work … in 4 days.”
–Malcolm S. Cole
The Bitterlich painting on the cover of the album, “The Madman,” is the image which inspired the first movement of Zeisl’s symphony.