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Carl Ditters von
Sinfonia in D major, Grave D6 (1788) [19:46]
Sinfonia in A major, Grave A6 (1781) [13:02]
Sinfonia in E flat major, Grave Eb9 (1782) [29:08]
Metropolitan Orchestra/Álvaro Cassutto
rec. 20-23 September 2005, Igreja da Cartuxa, Caxias, Portugal
NAXOS 8.570198 [61:56]
began his musical career as a violinist in the Prince of
Saxe-Hildenburghausen's orchestra in Vienna, for ten years
from 1751. He then served under Count Durazzo at the imperial
court theatre. As Kapellmeister to the Bishop of Oradea,
for four years from 1765, he wrote his first vocal works.
He was then employed at both Breslau and Vienna, where his
success was such that he was created Knight of the Golden
Spur, until in 1773 he was ennobled. He composed a series
of operas, mostly singspiels, for Vienna, of which the most
famous is Doctor und Apotheker (1786). During the
decade that Mozart worked in Vienna (1781-1791), Dittersdorf
gained a greater number of operatic performances.
was widely renowned in his day. He was much admired by Mozart,
with whom he played chamber music in Vienna. His instrumental
output was particularly prolific, including some 40 concertos
and 120 symphonies. These three examples reveal the sure
technique that lay behind his artistic success. The performances
are accomplished, though they lack that certain sparkle that
can raise music to another level. In particular the string
sound is rather generalised, and with music that often moves
at tempo Allegro that becomes an important issue.
same formula operates across all three works. Dittersdorf,
like his more famous friends and contemporaries Haydn and
Mozart, understood the importance of creating a cohesive
balance across a multi-movement composition, and this he
achieved with consummate artistry, If this achievement seems
less secure in the Symphony in E flat major it is simply
because it is constructed on a larger scale, and the material
does not have quite the personality to sustain it.
a composer such as Dittersdorf, the onus is on the accompanying
documentation to provide the necessary support and encouragement
to the project as a whole. The notes by Allan Radley are
well planned, though stronger on generalities than on the
music in hand; there is scarcely a mention of the A major
Symphony, for example.
is undoubtedly a composer who continues to deserve attention,
and in that sense this Naxos issue is a commendable enterprise.
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