LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL Archives

CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL@COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL  July 2005

CLASSICAL July 2005

Subject:

Review of Bomtempo Symphonies Disc

From:

Donald Satz <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 5 Jul 2005 15:06:18 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (95 lines)

Joao Domingos Bomtempo (1771-1842)
Symphony No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 11 [24:35]
Symphony No. 2 in D major [42:09]

Algarve Orchestra
Alvaro Cassuto, conductor
Recorded University of the Algarve, Faro, Portugal (recording dates not
given)
Naxos 8.557163 [66:44]

Joao Domingos Bomtempo was the most well-known Portuguese composer of the
Classical era, but I had not heard a note of his music prior to receiving
this new Naxos disc for review.  After a few listenings, I am very impressed
with both the music and program.  Symphony No. 1 is firmly in the Classical
tradition, mainly of a Haydnesque manner.  Symphony No. 2 is a more
ambitious and serious work that has early romantic features and contrasts
splendidly with the 1st Symphony.  Though both are undated, the music leads
me to assume that the symphonies are separated by at least a few years.
What both works have in common are excellent craftsmanship, fluid
phrasing/transitioning, and a host of irresistible melody lines.  Actually,
I consider Bomtempo an exceptional melodist, likely his most attractive
compositional trait.

Is Bomtempo a musical genius?  Likely not, in that his musical arguments
do not constantly advance in a logical and compelling fashion.  However,
Symphony No.  1 holds up quite well to the Haydn and Mozart models, and
the 2nd Symphony is close to being a masterpiece of early romanticism.

Bomtempo certainly had an advantageous musical upbringing.  His father
was a professional oboist and member of the orchestra of the Royal Court
of Lisbon.  Bomtempo studied music at Lisbon's Patriarchal Seminary and
was eventually appointed principal oboist of the Royal Court's orchestra
in 1795.  He later settled in Paris where he achieved a splendid career
as a pianist and composer, an enviable situation that continued when he
moved to London.  In addition to dozens of works for piano, Bomtempo
composed five piano concertos, a Requiem, and six symphonies.

Symphony No.  1, classical to the core, begins with an introductory Largo
of heroic proportions assisted excellently by the wind instruments; the
ensuing Allegro, in sonata form, is notable for its highly melodic and
toe-tapping primary theme.  However, even in this exhilarating 1st
Movement, the development section tends to meander rather than set its
sights on promoting the musical arguments of the primary theme.  The
invigorating 2nd Movement Minuetto is very enjoyable with a graceful
central Trio section where the winds carry the melody line over a bed
of staccato strings.  The 3rd Movement Andante sostenuto is not as
convincing, its series of variations tending to meander around the
unremarkable original theme.  Fortunately, the symphony concludes well
with a high-energy 4th Movement Presto that is joyous and delightful
throughout.

If Bomtempo's Symphony No. 2 was similar in style and aesthetics to
his first symphony, I would simply recommend the disc to those who
enjoy Classical period orchestral music.  However, Symphony No.  2 is
a significantly different creature having an impact analogous to moving
from Beethoven's first two symphonies to his magnificent and ground-breaking
"Eroica" Symphony.  First, each movement of Symphony No.  2 is significantly
longer than No.  1, the 1st Movement Allegro moderato especially generous
with a length in the 16 minute range.  Second, the fecundity of melodic
lines is very fertile and even more appealing than in Symphony No.  1.
Third, there is breadth of expression and serious intent not found in
the earlier symphony.

Symphony No.  2's 1st Movement is a remarkable creation.  The introduction
begins in darkness with the low strings but soon enters the world of
triumph with a glorious lyricism.  The Allegro contains one compelling
theme after another, making Bomtempo sound like a 'melody machine' in
the manner of a Mozart.  The 2nd Movement Allegretto is also stunning
and highly original; the first section has a march-like cadence and
blends poignancy with determination, while the central section's legato
and songful phrasing is irresistible.  Perhaps most alluring, this central
section is not followed by a simple restatement of the first section,
but a collaboration of the basic features of both sections.  With rousing
3rd and 4th Movements, Symphony No.  2 is an important symphonic work
of the early romantic period that deserves much greater exposure in the
concert hall and on record.

The Algarve Orchestra was founded by Alvaro Cassuto just three years ago
to provide Southern Portugal with a orchestral of international quality.
Of the more than 800 musicians who applied for positions with the new
orchestra, 31 were eventually selected.  Definitely a fine orchestra,
Cassuto and his forces give idiomatic interpretations of Bomtempo's
music, my sole reservation being a sagging of momentum in the Trio section
of the 2nd Symphony's Minuetto.  The sound quality is a little muddy,
but a distinct bloom appears at high volume levels.  The main consideration
is that the sonics do not detract from one's listening enjoyment.

Don's Conclusions: I strongly recommend that anyone interested in
symphonies from the late 18th to early 19th centuries investigate these
two exceptional Bomtempo efforts.  Once again, Naxos gives us superb
music from an obscure source for a very small price.  Now how about those
four other Bomtempo symphonies.  They need to be unearthed and recorded.

Don Satz
[log in to unmask]

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
July 1997

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager