53,674 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...




selling Internationaly

Founder: Len Mullenger                                     Editor in Chief: John Quinn              

Some items
to consider

Chopin Edition 17CDs
now available separately
£11 post-free anywhere


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


Recordings of the Month


Jean-Baptiste LEMOYNE

Enescu Ravel Britten

Debussy Images etc.

53 Studies on Chopin Études 1
Konstantin Scherbakov (piano)



Che fai tù? - Villanelles

Cyrillus KREEK
The suspended harp of Babel

violin concertos - Ibragimova

Peteris VASKS
Viola concerto - Maxim Rysanov

The Complete Lotte Schöne




Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Gaspard FRITZ (1716 - 1783)
Sinfonia in G, op. 6,3 [12:52]
Sinfonia in A, op. 1,6 [11:28]
Sinfonia in g minor, op. 6,6 [14:11]
Sinfonia in F, op. 1,5 [11:35]
Sinfonia in F, op. 6,5 [15:53]
La Stagione Frankfurt/Michael Schneider
rec. 17-19 March 2011, Alte Kirche, Boswil, Switzerland. DDD
CPO 777 696-2 [66:22]

One may sometimes wonder why the appreciation of music or performances is so different from one reviewer to the other. There can be various reasons for that, one of them being a difference in taste. It wasn't very different in the past, when there was no such thing as a recording. Take Gaspard Fritz, for instance. The English journalist Charles Burney visited him in Geneva in 1770. At his request Fritz played "one of his solos, which, though extremely difficult, was pleasing; and not withstanding his time of life, he still performs with as much spirit as a young man of twenty-five". He adds that "his bowing and expression are admirable". Fritz's playing didn't meet with universal approval, though. When he performed at the Concert Spirituel in Paris in 1756 the reception wasn't overly enthusiastic. This is mostly attributed to his Italian style of playing, but that seems questionable. After all, Italian music was well appreciated by Paris audiences at the time, and the Italian-influenced sonatas by Leclair went down very well with them. Another contemporary stated that his ornamentation was excessive and that he sometimes lost his rhythm.
That said, he certainly was appreciated, both as a composer and as a teacher. Handel assessed his sonatas op. 1 - two of which are played here - positively, and he was a much sought-after teacher of the English community in Geneva. He received his first lessons from his father Philipp, who was from the German town of Celle and had settled in Geneva as a music teacher. He continued his education with the then famous violinist Giovanni Battista Somis in Turin, and returned to Geneva in 1736-37. He had close connections to the Common Room of Geneva, a group of English residents who organized musical and theatrical performances. The dedications of Fritz's printed works indicate that he moved among the upper echelon of society in Geneva.
This disc includes five compositions from different stages in Fritz's career. They are all called 'sinfonia', but that is not correct as far as the op. 1 is concerned. It is a set of six works which were printed in 1742 in London under the title of Sonate a quattro stromenti, scored for two violins, viola and basso continuo. The use of the word 'sonata' could indicate that they were in the first instance intended as chamber music. However, a performance with more than one instrument per part is certainly legitimate. They are in three movements. The opening movement of the Sinfonia in A includes some short solo passages for the violin. The slow movements of these two sinfonias for strings are quite expressive, reflecting the Empfindsamkeit which was in vogue in the mid-18th century. The opening movement of the Sinfonia in F has a rather nervous character, another feature of many orchestral works of that time.
The three symphonies from op. 6 are from a much later date. They are likely the set of six symphonies whose publication Fritz announced, when Burney met him. That suggests they were written not before the late 1760s. They are scored for two flutes, two horns, strings and bc. In the symphonies in G major and G minor the opening movements are dramatic, due to the treatment of dynamics and an effective use of the horns. The latter's role is different in the opening allegro from the Symphony in F in which they, together with the flutes, introduce a lyrical element which is full of contrasts. The slow movement of the Symphony in G contains much expression thanks to frequent suspensions and sighing figures. The slow movement from the Symphony in g minor suggests a scene in the countryside, which is depicted by the flutes and the strings playing pizzicato. The Symphony in F is in four movements and includes a menuet and trio. This was not common at the time, but would become standard in the classical era.
There are clear similarities between these symphonies and orchestral works by composers from the Mannheim school. Interestingly, the first symphony from the op. 6 set was published in modern times by Hermann Scherchen, who thought Fritz's symphonies were in some respects more original than those by the Mannheim school. That was based on his assumption that they were written before 1760, but it is now generally assumed that they are of a much later date. At the time of their printing, after 1770, they were less remarkable. Even so, there is every reason to appreciate this recording because these are very fine works which don't deserve to be ignored. La Stagione Frankfurt delivers in a fine and pleasing way. Now and then I felt that more could have been made of the score, especially in the string sinfonias. On balance this is a most enjoyable disc, though, and I definitely hope that the remaining pieces from these two sets will appear on disc.
For those who would like to hear more from Fritz, I would mention a recording of the Sonatas op. 2 which was reviewed here and here.
Johan van Veen