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Early Music

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger



Johann Adolph SCHEIBE (1708 - 1776)
Introduzzione to ‘Sörgesange over Kong Frederik V’ (1766) [6.42]
Sinfonia à 4 in Bb (c.1765) [7.47]
Sinfonia to ‘Sörge- og Klagesange over Dronning Lovise.’ (1752) [11.04]
Sinfonia à 16 in D (c.1765) [10.33]
Sinfonia à 4 in Bb (c.1765) [8.19]
Sinfonia à 4 in A (c.1765) [8.10]
Sinfonia in D to ‘Der Temple des Ruhmes’ (1752) [8.22]
Concerto Copenhagen/Andrew Manze
Notes in English, Français, Deutsch
Recorded Danish Radio Concert Hall, Copenhagen, Denmark, August 1993
Previously released as CHAN 0550
CHANDOS CHACONNE CHAN 0696 [61.37]


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Scheibe is an ‘important’ composer in the pre-Classical style. In 1731, J. S. Bach wrote of his former student: ‘...he is thoroughly at home not only on the clavier and violin but also in composition, and accordingly I do not doubt that he will be in a position adequately to attend to whatever office God may assign to him.*’ Whether that was intended to damn with faint praise is not immediately obvious. But in 1737 Scheibe wrote of Bach: ‘... he demands that singers and instrumentalists should be able to do with their throats and instruments whatever he can play on the clavier. But this is impossible. All the voices must work with each other and be of equal difficulty, and none of them can be recognised as the principal voice. Turgidity has led ... from the natural to the artificial ... one admires the onerous labour and uncommon effort — which, however, are vainly employed since they conflict with Nature* ...’ It is thought that Scheibe may have been angry because Bach was on the selection committee and voted against him when he applied for a job. Nevertheless, because of Scheibe’s reputation as a writer and music critic this statement was still circulated and considered a fair appraisal of Bach’s vocal music until the day after the Mendelssohn revival of the St. Matthew Passion on March 11, 1829.

Now we have a chance to hear what kind of music Scheibe wrote and in which he would reasonably be expected to avoid the sins he attributes to Bach. As expected Scheibe’s music tends to be lyrical, with a tune supported by accompaniment in anticipation of the Classical style. His secondary voices are just that; his counterpoint is still valid and skilfully done; but the melody voice is clearly the ‘principal’ and the accompanying lines clearly subordinate. The performances here are excellent and clearly recorded. Brass instrument sound is particularly well balanced, and the virtuoso trumpet soloist in the Sinfonia à 16 deserves special mention. But like much ‘important’ music most of us will be glad to hear it once or twice. Scheibe’s music is not as interesting or imaginative as that by other pre-Classical composers such as the brothers (?) Monn or the Bach brothers. Much of the music on this disk is dignified, even sombre, in tone, but at its liveliest it achieves an almost Handelian swagger.

Lest any be misled by the label indication ‘24bit96kHz’ this is a regular CD and plays back at 16/44. This is not a high resolution CD or a DVD-audio disk. However this notation may indicate that the sound on this reissue has been digitally enhanced from the original 1994 issue.

*Quoted in The Bach Reader edited by Hans T. David and Arthur Mendel, Revised Edition 1966.


Paul Shoemaker

 

 



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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