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 2007

CLASSICAL July 2007

Subject:

"Symphonies of the Mozart Era"

From:

Donald Satz <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 3 Jul 2007 00:31:51 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (176 lines)

"Symphonies of the Mozart Era"
SACD 1:
Francois-Joseph Gossec (1734-1829)
Symphony in B flat major, Op. 6 no. 6 [20:59]
Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782)
Symphony in E major for Double Orchestra [13:58]
Johann Baptist Vanhal (1739-1813)
Symphony in F major [17:36] *
Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf (1739-1799)
Symphony in C major, "The Four Ages of Man" [17:32]
SACD 2:
Johann Baptist Vanhal (1739-1813)
Symphony in G minor [17:46]
Antoine Mahaut (c. 1720-1785)
Symphony No. 4 in C minor for Strings [8:12]
Antonin Reicha (1770-1836)
Symphony in E flat major [23:24]
Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-1792)
Symphony in C minor [22:36]

Cappella Coloniensis/Hans-Martin Linde/Ulf Bjorlin *
rec. (dates and venues not provided)
Capriccio Hybrid Multi-Channel SACD 71 110 [2cds - 71:07 + 72:35]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Haydn are such towering musical
figures of the Classical period that other composers of that era tend
to be diminished to a historical footnote.  However, dozens of composers
of the Classical era were exceptional artists, and this 2-cd set by
Capriccio titled "Symphonies of the Mozart Era" reveals a few of them.

In a sense, the Capriccio set competes with the Chandos "Contemporaries
of Mozart" series.  However, the Chandos series features a modern
instrument orchestra while the Capriccio highlights the long-standing
period instrument group Cappella Coloniensis that was formed in 1954.
The differences in instrumentation make for entirely separate soundworlds,
and I don't mind stating that my preference rests with period instruments,
especially in the hands of a group as exceptional as the Cappella
Coloniensis.  Further, the Capriccio set is an SACD release in contrast
to the standard CD format of the Chandos series with the exception of
one SACD release for the Herschel Symphonies.

I should point out that the Capriccio release does not specify recording
dates or venues.  This leads me to believe that the recordings are not new.
However, rest assured that the sound quality is state-of-the-art, even when
played on a standard CD player.  When turning to the SACD layer and
multi-channel capabilities, the sonics are simply spectacular as the sound
expands in all directions.

Capriccio has chosen eight high-quality symphonies of the Classical
period that have stood the test of time.  Each one is highly lyrical,
expertly crafted, and possesses abundant energy and rhythmic flair. 
Fast outer movements are exuberant and exhilarating, while slow movements
possess great charm, grace and lilting melodies.  Here's a synopsis of
the program:

Gossec's Symphony in B flat major - Francois-Joseph Gossec is the most
famous French composer associated with the French Revolution, his Requiem
of great popularity during that period.  Although technically of the
Classical era, Gossec's music retains a significant baroque flavor as
heard in his Symphony in B flat major.  In five movements, the work is
one of Gossec's finest and thoroughly charming and invigorating.  The
1st Movement Allegro molto is assertive and optimistic with strong
undercurrents from the lower strings.  The 2nd Movement Larghetto is a
beautiful piece of grace and lyricism with motifs built on top of one
another.  A very short and poignant Largo con sordini gives way to the
4th Movement Fuga having compelling upper voice suspensions; this is the
most baroque of the five movements and offers the most tension as well.
The last movement contains two minuets; the first is highly ceremonial
while the second finds the strings stretching outward enticingly.  Gossec's
Symphony in B flat major is certainly an excellent calling-card for the
remainder of the program.

J.C. Bach's Symphony in E major for Double Orchestra - After Mozart,
J.C. Bach is my favorite composer of the Classical era.  I love his
music for its dignity, confident demeanor, wealth of melodic invention
and the natural flow of musical arguments.  Further, he was a very
economical composer with a minimum of notes and phrases used to resolve
his musical reasoning.  All these exceptional qualities are to be found
in his Symphony in E major: the stately 1st Movement Allegro, a beautifully
flowing and regal 2nd Movement Andante and a 3rd Movement Minuetto of
stunning buoyancy.

Vanhal's Symphonies in F major and G minor - Johann Baptist Vanhal was
born in Bohemia, migrated to Vienna where he studied under Karl Ditters
von Dittersdorf and became one of Europe's leading composers in the
1760's.  From the two programmed symphonies, I'd like to key on three
of the movements.  One is the 2nd Movement Cantabile of the Symphony in
F major which is a gorgeous piece as expressive and uplifting as anything
else written by the composer.  The 3nd Movement Minuetto is another
winner; its confidence and rhythmic lift are infectious.  Of special
mention is the 2nd Movement Andante of the Symphony in G minor.  It
begins with a violin solo over a simple accompaniment that is soon taken
over by a viola solo that eventually results in unison playing from both
stringed instruments.  In addition to being the only music on the set
that is dominated by solo contributions, the piece is ample evidence
that there is nothing more beautiful than the sound of period strings
played expertly and with minimal vibrato.

Ditterdorf's Symphony in C major - Of all the leading composers of the
Classical era, Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf seems to receive the least
respect from the classical music community.  However, when he was at the
top of his game, Dittersdorf's music was quite enjoyable and memorable.
Unfortunately, he also had a penchant for writing some pedestrian material.
The Symphony in C major has elements of both; the first three movements
are highly entertaining while the last movement is of the throw-away
variety.  Dittersdorf offers an unusual 1st Movement Larghetto of a
strongly ceremonial nature followed by the 2nd Movement Allegro vivace
that streaks across the sky with wild abandon.  In the 3rd Movement
Minuetto con garbo, the composer takes on a stern demeanor with sharp
phrasing and assertive ascending lines.  But it all falls apart in the
war-like 4th Movement Finale replete with military drum beats and slashing
rhythms; here, Dittersdorf engages in a ridiculous degree of repetition
of uninspired musical lines.  Still, there is much to enjoy in the first
three movements.

Mahaut's Symphony No.  4 in C minor - Antoine Mahaut, by virtue of his
birth date and musical personality, composed in the baroque fashion.
His Symphony No.  4 is a fine example of his style with its "sonata da
camera" construction.  The 1st Movement is a fugue, the 2nd a siciliano
and the 3rd has the properties of a bourree.  Overall, it is a fine work
of excellent lyricism and natural flow that ends all too quickly in eight
minutes.  I should report that Mahaut eventually found a home at a
monastery in France.  However, his religious motivation might have been
slight, as he was being hounded by creditors from Amsterdam just prior
to his conversion.

Reicha's Symphony in E flat major - The backward-looking Mahaut symphony
is followed by the most forward-looking symphony on the program, Antonin
Reicha's Symphony in E flat major.  Actually, Reicha occupies the time
period bridging the gap between the Classical and Romantic periods.  In
Reicha's music, as with his contemporaries including Hummel and Spohr,
the perfection of form so treasured in Mozart's time shares priority
with a greater freedom of and depth of expression as well as the more
extensive treatment of thematic development.  The Symphony in E flat
major begins with an emotionally rich Largo-Allegro spiritoso having
contrasts of mood, tempo and dynamics rarely found in the symphonies of
the Classical period.  The 2nd Movement Adagio continues to impress with
its priority on contrast, and Reicha's exceptional lyricism is ever
present.  The 3rd Movement Allegro has an infectious rhythmic swing,
while the 4th Movement Un poco vivo begins in a cheerful fashion but
soon takes on a fierce disposition as Reicha once again makes 'contrast'
an integral part of his musical vocabulary.  This is an exceptional
symphony and further evidence that Reicha infrequently disappoints.

Kraus' Symphony in C minor - Born in Germany, Joseph Martin Kraus moved
to Sweden at the age of twenty-two to apply for a position at the court
of King Gustav III.  After three years of barely making a living, he was
finally noticed and accepted by the Royal Court, attaining the post of
director of the Royal Academy of Music.  Kraus is often referred to as
the "Swedish Mozart", and the fact that he was born in the same year as
Mozart and died just one year after Mozart surely plays a part in the
designation.  His three-movement Symphony in C minor, one of his finest
and most demonstrative in the genre, begins with a dramatic Larghetto
that settles into a tension-laden Allegro.  The 2nd Movement Andante is
a stately affair somewhat lacking in melodic distinction compared to the
other slow movements of the set.  In the 3rd Movement Allegro assai,
Kraus combines aggressive declarations with lyrical passages in a most
appealing manner.

Don's Conclusions: This mid-priced Capriccio set has much to offer:
some of the finest music of the Classical era played in convincing
period-instrument fashion with superb sonic features.  Indeed, the set
is a musical feast for those who love orchestral music from this time
period.  I personally find the Bach, Vanhal and Reicha offerings the
most enjoyable with the others not far behind.  Since each symphony on
the program is a gem, I urge readers to consider Capriccio's exceptional
set of "Symphonies of the Mozart Era".

Don Satz
[log in to unmask]

             ***********************************************
The CLASSICAL mailing list is powered by L-Soft's renowned LISTSERV(R)
list management software together with L-Soft's HDMail High Deliverability
Mailer for reliable, lightning fast mail delivery.  For more information,
go to:  http://www.lsoft.com/LISTSERV-powered.html

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