Claudia Pritchard
The Independent on Sunday
February 2014

The long shadow of Brahms fell over the many rising composers in Vienna at the end of the 19th century, and his special influence on Alexander Zemlinsky is clear in the younger musician’s two completed symphonies, here played with Brahmsian breadth and sway by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conducted by Martyn Brabbins.

There is little hint in these appealing but unstartling works of the great musical shift among Zemlinsky’s contemporaries, notably his brother-in-law Arnold Schoenberg, and Gustav Mahler, to whom he lost his student and lover, Alma, but the symphonies in D minor and B flat major are colourful pieces in the rich turn-of-the-century mosaic of Austrian art.