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Josef MYSLIVECEK (1737 - 1781)
Symphony in C, F26 (1772) [9.16]
Symphony in A, F27 (1772) [8.54]
Symphony in F, F28 (1772) [10.50]
Symphony in D, F29 (1772) [10.04]
Symphony in Bb, F30 (1772) [10.09]
Symphony in G, F31 (1772) [10.54]
London Mozart Players/Mathias Bamert
Recorded at All Saints Church, Tooting, London, UK, 11 December 2003
Notes in English, Deutsch, Français. Portrait of composer.
Contemporaries of Mozart series
CHANDOS CHAN 10203 [60.27]



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Comparison Recordings:

Mozart Symphony #34, etc. Bamert, LMP, BBC magazine Vol. IV #6.

Myslivecek wrote these symphonies (or "overtures") in Italy whilst Mozart was in his mid-teens. Mozart knew the composer personally at that time. It is often said of a particular work that it was written at the same time as another, but with no proof that the composers had ever heard of each other or each otherís music, let alone met, until much later; the speculations about influence can be insupportable. But when these symphonies truly do sound like works Mozart was writing at the time, then we can with some cause propose explanations as to why the music sounds similar. Mozart was a student all his life, of course, and had no embarrassment about appropriating stylistic elements from others, just as he had neither necessity nor inclination to use them without stamping them unmistakably with his own personality.

If this disk were labelled "Mozart Symphonies," after listening you would not be likely to challenge that ascription; if you lament that Mozart wrote little music in his youth, be cheered for here is some more. The works, published as "overtures", are in three movements, The performances leave nothing to be desired, the London Mozart Players with Mathias Bamert having established a reputation for the finest performances of this repertoire in excellent sound. Listen, for example, to the comparison recording listed above - easily the best version of that work Iíve ever heard.

We do hear gracious tunes, melodic phrases dramatically developed, rich colourful orchestration. But, knowing that this is not Mozart, I listened carefully, and with mounting frustration, for some turn of phrase, some stylistic element which I could say was noticeably, definitely inferior to Mozart. I never found one. If it is important to you to believe that Mozart was light years ahead of every other composer alive at his time, perhaps you should not listen to this disk.

Paul Shoemaker


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