The accompanying booklet carries an interesting and well-written essay by
German musicologist Christoph Meixner. It is not until three-quarters of the
way through, however, that featured composer Theodor von Schacht actually
gets a mention - up to that point the reader will have enjoyed a
sociological discussion of the functions of music and a historical
perspective on the fascinating-yet-neglected court of Thurn and Taxis.
In fact, Regensburger Schacht is another talented composer from the turn
of the 19th century unfortunately lost to dusty archives - but now
resurrected by the ever-discerning CPO. This very generously-timed first of
what promises to be several volumes - Schacht wrote thirty or more
symphonies - sees the Taiwan-based Evergreen Symphony Orchestra (ESO) pick
up from their recent recording for the label of the four symphonies of
Antonio Cartellieri, like Schacht a close but later invisible contemporary
of Beethoven. In the dozen or so years it has existed, the ESO has built up
a very decent reputation, particularly under Schmalfuss, and the
enthusiastic reception of their Cartellieri disc is likely to be
approximated with these quite proficient and affable accounts of
Though Schacht gave them the potentially ambiguous Italian title, the
symphonies are all substantial works - two extend to fulfilling half-hours.
Each of the three cast in a classical four movements - the first and last
fast, with a minuet third - they are at the very least well-proportioned,
elegant and diverting. Unsurprisingly, they recall Haydn, whose latest
symphonies at the figuratively nearby Esterhazy court must have held special
fascination for Schacht. Like countless mid-to-late-18th-century symphonies,
the E-flat 'with echo' undoubtedly served a more functional
purpose, but it measures up aesthetically as well as in terms of
CPO's sound quality is pretty good - just the usual slight lack of
definition in the higher range of the violins. The aforementioned notes are
thoughtfully offered in German, English and Chinese.
Very little of Schacht's music has been recorded, making this CD
all the more collectable. On this evidence, volume 2 should be anticipated
with some eagerness.
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