Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Tudor 7188


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 

alternatively Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Muzio CLEMENTI (1752-1832)
Symphony No. 1 in C major [25:27]
Symphony No. 2 in D major [24:00]
Symphony No. 3 in G major (Grand National Symphony) [26:57]
Symphony No. 4 in D major [28:24]
Philharmonia Orchestra/Claudio Scimone
rec. Henry Wood Hall, London, January 1978
WARNER APEX 2564 627622 [49:27 + 55:21]


I'd guess that most listeners know Clementi, if at all, as the composer of the sonatinas that have been the bane of generations of second-year piano students. Who'd have thought that this same composer would, in the symphonic arena, have been a full-fledged innovator?
 
The autograph scores and orchestral parts for these symphonies were discarded or otherwise variously went missing over the years, explaining their prolonged obscurity; the present editions are reconstructions by the musicologist Pietro Spada. Granted, without knowing the full extent of his reworkings and other contributions, it's hard to divine just how much of what we're hearing is original Clementi. Still, in whatever form, these scores, composed by Clementi in middle-age - when he had come under the personal and professional influence of Beethoven - are complex and forward-looking in a way that those ricky-ticky sonatinas could never have suggested.
 
Thus, the introduction to the C major symphony, with its steady tread and organlike wind writing, sounds suitably formal yet somehow "advanced," and it's not immediately clear why. The difference lies in the composer's use of the winds. In much Classical writing, the winds undertake melodic duties strictly as soloists; as a group, they're relegated to supporting the dominant string body. Clementi's novel stroke is to give the winds parity as a group with the strings, folding the contrasting timbral blocks in and around each other in the texture as contrapuntal units. Even the trumpets occasionally cut loose from the batteria to participate in this kind of linear deployment. This technique yields an unusually rich sonic tapestry - it's not too much to hear it as foreshadowing Bruckner - which gives the music its distinctive sound.
 
The inner movements, too, have their quirks. The theme of the Andante con moto is simple enough, but unfolds in off-kilter three-bar phrases before sidling into the standard four-bar units. In the Menuetto, Clementi speckles the light, crisp horn-and-woodwind theme with little double graces and breaks up the standard one-in-a-bar pattern with hemiolas, for a bumptious effect. A quicksilver Finale returns in tutti to the weightier feel of the first movement. The results are altogether refreshing, yet Classical form and technique remain inviolate.
 
The Fourth Symphony, too, looks forward in its details. Following a searching, mysterious introduction, the first movement's long-spanning principal theme anticipates Schubert's extended theme-groups, seasoned by "answering" phrases in contrasting timbres and registers and abrupt, Beethovenesque changes of mood. An airborne, lyrical 'cello melody affords some breathing space, after which the development wanders through a wide range of key centers with a cheerful, even boisterous energy. In the Andante cantabile, Clementi again splits segments of the theme among different timbral blends; the sound and scale are "big" for a Classical slow movement. The third movement is marked Menuetto, but suggests Beethoven's one-in-a-bar scherzi in its minor-key agitation and brisk scansion; soft tympani strokes add an earthy touch to the gentler Trio. The Finale's bouncy opening theme is jaunty and lyrical all at once, marked by dotted rhythms which also invade the smoother contrasting subject.
 
The other two symphonies, less overtly "different," can still take the listener by surprise. The G major gets its nickname from the injections of God Save the King into the slow movement - a big-boned, majestic structure with a strong brass presence - and the sprightly, elegant finale. The first movement's main theme is segmented in a way that throws the stresses onto different parts of the bar, and the exposition (not the development!) rather thoroughly explores fringe harmonies. The score is a synthesis of Haydn's rugged vigor and Mozart's more yielding expression, looking ahead to Schubert in the Minuetto's easygoing Trio.
 
The Second Symphony strikes a nice balance between busy "horizontal" activity and strong, "vertical" weight, recalling Haydn in the bustling energy of the outer movements. Note the way that, in the Minuetto's recap, Clementi gradually fills out the light, soloistic textures. In the finale's coda, the prominent horn entry and syncopated fugato are nice surprises.
 
The Philharmonia sounds good, though a bit muzzy and diffuse, and not just because of the recorded ambience - there's a hint of looseness in attacks and releases. This was one of Claudio Scimone's first excursions into the "big" repertoire, and I suspect that his baton signals, adequate for leading his Solisti Veneti chamber orchestra, may not have been sufficiently clear to elicit really precise playing from a large ensemble. Sonics are acceptable, though you might find a volume boost in order.
 
Stephen Francis Vasta
 



 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.