WAGENSEIL (1715–1777) Symphonies Volume 2
Symphony in C, op.5/5, WV 361 [10:04]
Symphony in F, WV 398 (Overture to the opera, Il Siroe)
Symphony in D, op.3/1, WV 374 [11:09]
Symphony a 6 in A, WV 432 [8:52]
Symphony in E, op.13/3, WV 393 [11:21]
Symphony in A, op.12/5, WV 421 (Overture to the opera, Demetrio)
rec. 15–18 November 2004, Liederkranzhalle, Stuttgart–Botnang
DDD CPO 7771122 [54:24]
It’s sometimes easy to forget that there
were other composers hard at work at the same time as Haydn
and Mozart, composers who were forging ahead with the development
of forms which we now take for granted.
Born in Vienna,
Wagenseil became a favourite pupil of Johann Joseph Fux,
Kapellmeister at he Viennese Court, where later, in 1739,
he became court composer, holding this position for the
rest of his life, as well as harpsichordist and organist
to the Court. In 1749 he was appointed Hofklaviermeister to the imperial
archduchesses. He taught Johann Baptist Schenk (who
later taught Beethoven) as well as Marie Antoinette. Both
Haydn and Mozart were familiar with his works and he was
a well–known figure in his day. Amongst other things he
wrote sixteen operas, three Oratorios, Masses,
Cantatas, other sacred vocal music, Symphonies, Harpsichord
Concertos, other solo concertos, chamber music for strings
alone or with keyboard or winds and numerous solo keyboard
of these six Symphonies is set in the Italian
Overture mold: fast – slow – fast (although the second
fast movement doesn’t recapitulate music from the first
and on two occasions it is a minuet) and each part is
a true movement not a part of a continuous whole.
a lot to enjoy here and it’s fascinating how much variety
there is in these small works. For instance, the Symphony
in C, op.5/5, WV 361 begins with a real fast movement,
all fire and passion with dramatic pauses, and the orchestral
palate is really quite colourful. There’s a lot of humour
in Symphony in F, WV 398 while Symphony in
D, op.3/1, WV 374 has the most delightfully skittish
opening movement and its slow movement is quite Mozartean
in its pathos.
I need not
go on for it’s obvious what these pieces are about and
what they are like. Here is the Symphony in embryo, which
was to be taken up, in exactly this form, and expanded
and knocked about until it becomes what we now accept as
the classical Symphony. A later generation would start
to do other things to it but here, taking its first fledgling
steps is the modern Symphony and it’s lovely to be in at
the beginning of things.
There are no
towering masterpieces here, nothing which will inflame
the passions but we do have the work of a man who probably
considered himself to be a jobbing musician who had no
idea that he was helping to set in motion what would become
the greatest achievement in instrumental music – the Symphony.
We should celebrate him for this alone.
are sprightly and well thought out, with playing of some
brilliance. The recording is warm and full and the notes
are very good. I’m sorry I missed Volume 1!
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