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Witt: Symphonies Nos 6 & 9; Flute Conerto in G / Moesus, Barner, Hamburg Symphony

Release Date: 07/26/2005 
Label:  Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm) Gold Catalog #: 3291299   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Friedrich Witt
Performer:  Susanne Barner
Conductor:  Johannes Moesus
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hamburg Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Friedrich Witt (1770-1836) achieved his 15 minutes of fame as the composer of the so-called "Jena" Symphony, which was momentarily believed to be by the young Beethoven. How anyone could make that mistake is a mystery, for there's not a shred of Beethoven, early or late, in this music; but there is tons of Haydn and Mozart--and good Haydn and Mozart at that. Witt may have lacked originality, but he had taste, talent, and a good ear. He imitates well; and while you may be able to identify many of his melodic or formal models, it's the mix of elements that's unique. This makes him a sort of Classical-period Poulenc, creating wonderful music out of "other people's chords".
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Out of 23 symphonies, Nos. 1-9 (typically) are the last of them, composed during the first decade of the 19th century. The "Turkish" Symphony, ebulliently scored for an orchestra that includes triangle, cymbals, bass drum, tambourine, and piccolo, obviously looks back at Haydn's "Military" Symphony and Mozart's Seraglio, and aside from the instrumental extras it features a delicious slow movement in which solo winds sing wonderful (and original) melodies over pizzicato strings.

Witt's Flute Concerto ranks among the best works for this combination. Yes, the second subject of the first movement recalls a certain very famous aria from first act of The Marriage of Figaro, but so what? The music exudes charm, freshness, and rhythmic vitality. Flutists should take it into their active repertoire forthwith (and it's wonderfully played here by Susanne Barner).

The Ninth Symphony begins with an obvious reference to the opening of Don Giovanni (in the same key of D minor), but Witt's particular treatment of minor keys never aims at Mozartian pathos. His cheerful energy comes closer to Haydn, with outer movements that treat the obligatory sonata forms with a deft hand and no trace of stiffness. There's plenty of excitement in both symphonic finales, and conductor Johannes Moesus isn't afraid to let the music rip when its spirits rise. There are a few places in both symphonies where I felt that period instruments would bring out the brass writing to better effect and clarify the tuttis, but I'm not taking any points away simply because the Hamburg Symphony sounds like a modern band. The orchestra plays beautifully, with boldness and character, making this one of the most enjoyable recordings of classical-period marginalia to come along in quite some time. This disc leaves you wanting more, and no praise can be higher than that. [6/21/2005]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Symphony no 6 by Friedrich Witt
Conductor:  Johannes Moesus
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hamburg Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Concerto for Flute in G major by Friedrich Witt
Performer:  Susanne Barner (Flute)
Conductor:  Johannes Moesus
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hamburg Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806 
Symphony no 9 by Friedrich Witt
Conductor:  Johannes Moesus
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hamburg Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 

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