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Every Day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor: Rob Barnett  
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Meister der Mozart-Zeit/Masters of the Mozart Era
Joseph Martin KRAUS (1756-1792)

Symphony in D major
Concerto Köln/Werner Erhardt
Johann Gottlieb NAUMANN (1741-1801)

Piano Concerto in B flat major
Christine Schornsheim (fortepiano)
Berliner Barock-Compagney
Antonio SALIERI (1750-1825)

Symphony in D major for chamber orchestra La Veneziana
Budapest Strings/Béla Bánfalvi
Franz Anton RÖSLER-ROSETTI (1750-1792)

Horn Concerto in E flat (1779)
Andrew Joy (horn)
Kölner Rundfunkorchester/Johannes Goritzki
Carl Ditters von DITTERSDORF (1739-1799)

Symphony in C major La prise de la Bastille
Concerto Köln/Werner Erhardt
Christoph Willibald von GLUCK (1714-1787)

Overture to Orfeo ed Euridice (1762)
Ballet (Paris Version) (1773)
Kammerorchester "Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach"/Hartmut Haenchen
Johann Georg ALBRECHTSBERGER (1736-1809)

Harp Concerto in C major (1773)
Andrea Vigh (harp)
Budapest Strings/Béla Bánfalvi
Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805)

String Quartet No.19 in D major Op.15 No.1
Petersen Quartet
Giuseppe FERLENDIS (1755-1802)

Oboe Concerto in F major
Burkhard Glaetzner (oboe)
Kammerorchester "Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach"/Hartmut Haenchen
Johann Baptist VANHAL (1739-1813)

Symphony in G minor
Cappella Coloniensis/Hans-Martin Linde
Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782)

Overture to La Clemenza di Scipione
Cappella Coloniensis/Hans-Martin Linde
Giovanni PAISELLO (1740-1816)

Piano Concerto in C major
Maria Luisa Tanzini (fortepiano)
Cappella Coloniensis/Gabriele Ferro
François-Joseph GOSSEC (1734-1829)

Symphony in B flat major
Cappella Coloniensis/Hans-Martin Linde
Johann Baptist WENDLING (1723-1797)

Concerto for flauto traverse and orchestra in G major
Martin Sandhoff (flauto traverse)
Neue Hofkapelle München/Christoph Hammer
Carl STAMITZ (1745-1801)

Orchestra Quartet in G major
Cappella Coloniensis/Ulf Björlin
Undated German radio broadcasts in association with Capriccio
CAPRICCIO 67 100/02 [3 CDs: 69.36 + 71.07 + 74.20]

The series of Capriccio boxes continues to do good work in encapsulating an epoch, or in giving a broad-brush stroke history. Most derive from radio broadcasts; some have been released on single CD issues over the past few years. Here we have a "Contemporaries of Mozart" three disc set which doesn’t aim for completeness nor for uniformity of style. There’s variety here and as a result perhaps the focus is blurred but not to any worryingly great extent. Better not to follow any didactic purpose with a set like this; better to allow oneself to make encounters and discoveries or to reacquaint oneself with composers overlooked or taken for granted.

We open with the impressively Sturm und Drang Sinfonia of Kraus, complete with judiciously pomposo fugato second movement. It may be a work in total of only nine minutes but it’s one that lingers long in the mind. Johann Gottlieb Naumann’s Keyboard Concerto is a sliver of a piece at eleven or so minutes but has at its heart a delightfully lyric slow movement. The variable quality of the recorded sound will always be a consideration in a box of this kind, produced in association with the various contributing German radio stations and so it proves with the Salieri Sinfonia, which proves to be in rather more constricted sound than its immediate disc companions. The Sinfonia was derived from an opera buffa first performed in Venice in 1778 – confident writing if rather generic. Rösler was one of the myriad of Bohemians to enrich the fertile soil of Wallerstein, Paris and Ludwigslust – to cite just three of his biggest successes. The Horn Concerto is elegant and exciting in equal measure and has a fearless horn cadenza in the first movement (it must have been written for a virtuoso) that shows his idiomatic command of both solo potential and the colour to be derived from canny orchestration. Dittersdorf’s Symphony ends the first disc – tempestuous, military, with bracing cross rhythms and a deal of vigour suitable to its subject matter – namely nothing less than the French Revolution. Though he was a bit of a churner-outer (countless symphonies, perhaps as many as 120, and more than forty operas) this one has a real sense of expectancy and resolution and a driving powerful rhetoric.

Highlights on the second disc include a charming Harp Concerto by Albrechtsberger, Beethoven’s teacher and more familiar perhaps for his sacred music and the perky Allegro Rondeau of Boccherini’s D major Quartet Op.15 No.1. If it’s rather odd to find a (small-scale, two movement, eight minute) Quartet amongst the concerti and Symphonies, then it at least adds a degree of breadth of form to the set. Felendis’s Oboe Concerto pays homage to Mozart, not surprisingly because the oboist-composer, born in Bergamo in 1755, actually played Mozart’s own Oboe Concerto. The explicitly vocalised impress of the slow movement is particularly noteworthy, notwithstanding the general Mozartian nature of the writing. The Bohemian Vanhal was a well-known pan-European traveller. His Symphony in G minor is dramatic and finely balanced, with good opportunities for the solo violin in the Andante and for the trumpets in the finale.

The acoustic balance for Paisiello’s Keyboard Concerto on the third disc is more immediate than in the similar Naumann work. The sound of the fortepiano Tanzini plays is not immediately likeable, not to my ears, anyway but the playing is fluent and vigorous. It’s good to see the Revolutionary survivor Gossec here. He’s been getting his due from ASV at the moment so the need for this recording of the Symphony in B flat major is, in a sense, less pressing than formerly. He should certainly not be overlooked as a composer of his times – moulding string lines with agility, using orchestral pizzicati effectively and imaginatively, and spinning a (mutes on) gauzy tiny sliver of a largo at the heart of his symphony. That’s what I like about Gossec – there’s always something going on. Johann Baptist Wendling’s Flute Concerto (to be precise, for flauto traverso) has some rich Mannheim sounding rockets and is sprightly and welcomingly abrupt with some excellent articulation from soloist Martin Sandhoff in the finale. Which brings us to Stamitz and his ultra-grazioso Orchestra Quartet – a most civilised and superior way to end this mixed bag set. There are biographical notes in German, French and English.

Jonathan Woolf


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