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Johann Baptist Vanhal: Symphonies, Vol 4 / Mallon, Et Al


Release Date: 02/26/2008 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8570280   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Baptist Vanhal
Conductor:  Kevin Mallon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Little to complain about on this album and much to enjoy.

The first volume in Naxos's journey through the symphonies of Johann Baptist Va?hal appeared in 1999, so this fourth volume has been a long time in coming. I wonder if the slow progress of the series is linked to Paul Bryan's painstaking preparation of the scores of Va?hal's works for Artaria Editions. Whatever the reason, this disc has been worth the wait. Each of the symphonies presented here is slender, stylish and deftly constructed. Va?hal was almost an exact contemporary of Joseph Haydn, and the polish and élan of his music illustrates why he was also one of the most successful Viennese composers of his day.

There is a whiff of Sturm
Read more und Drang in the pulsing first movement of the early E minor symphony, and the minor mode spices the third movement Menuetto and Trio and the helter-skelter of the final Contratanz. The smiling andante, placed second, provides contrast, as does the bright but slight second subject of the final movement.

As Paul Bryan points out in his erudite booklet notes, the C major symphony Bryan C1 was one of Va?hal’s most popular and well known compositions, published as far afield as London and Paris and surviving to the present day in as many as 18 manuscript copies. This cheery symphony is also cleverly constructed, with a first movement that is built from a brief motif, a canonic andante and a skipping finale, which ideally would pack a weightier punch than it does in this otherwise stylish performance.

The C major symphony Bryan C17 is a late work and, according to the liner notes, was performed by Haydn from the manuscript copies in the collection of Prince Esterházy. The second movement is notable for its prominent use of winds and Va?hal’s interesting orchestral textures generally. The finale references the first and second movements to give the work a cyclical unity.

The Eb major symphony that closes the disc has a sobriquet: La Tempesta. While it is no Pastoral Symphony, it is illustrative of a storm, with Va?hal deploying a rising semiquaver “storm” figure that features prominently in the finale and appears in each of the preceding movements to give the whole piece a cyclical feel.

The Toronto Chamber Orchestra – which also appeared on volume 3 in this series – play modern instruments in the period style, eschewing vibrato and generally painting in clear clean lines. The mushy boom of the timpani – particularly in the first and third movements of the C major symphony Bryan C1 and the first movement of the C major symphony Bryan C17 – is a bit distracting, but otherwise there is little to complain about on this album and much to enjoy.

-- Tim Perry, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony in E minor, B e3 by Johann Baptist Vanhal
Conductor:  Kevin Mallon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: circa 1775; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 15 Minutes 19 Secs. 
2.
Symphony in C major, B C1 by Johann Baptist Vanhal
Conductor:  Kevin Mallon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: Vienna, Austria 
Length: 17 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Vienna, Austria (Circa 1763 - 1765). 
3.
Symphony in C major, B C17 by Johann Baptist Vanhal
Conductor:  Kevin Mallon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: Vienna, Austria 
Length: 15 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Vienna, Austria (Circa 1775 - 1778). 
4.
Symphony in E flat major, B Eb1 by Johann Baptist Vanhal
Conductor:  Kevin Mallon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: Vienna, Austria 
Length: 17 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Vienna, Austria (Circa 1771 - 1772). 

Sound Samples

Symphony in E minor, Bryan e3: I. Allegro (molto)
Symphony in E minor, Bryan e3: II. Andante
Symphony in E minor, Bryan e3: III. Menuetto and Trio
Symphony in E minor, Bryan e3: IV. Contratantz: Presto
Symphony in C major, Bryan C1: I. Allegro
Symphony in C major, Bryan C1: II. Andante
Symphony in C major, Bryan C1: III. Menuetto and Trio
Symphony in C major, Bryan C1: IV. Allegro
Symphony in C major, Bryan C17: I. Allegro
Symphony in C major, Bryan C17: II. Andante
Symphony in C major, Bryan C17: III. Menuetto ma Allegretto
Symphony in C major, Bryan C17: IV. Allegro molto
Symphony in E flat major, Bryan Eb1: I. Allegro
Symphony in E flat major, Bryan Eb1: II. Adagio
Symphony in E flat major, Bryan Eb1: III. Menuetto and Trio
Symphony in E flat major, Bryan Eb1: IV. Allegro, "La Tempesta"

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Excellent Recording April 22, 2014 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "Conductor Kevin Mallon leads the Toronto Chamber Orchestra (about 25 musicians) in four 18th century symphonies by the Viennese composer Johann Vanhal. As in the 3 previous Naxos volumes, the outstanding performance of the orchestra brings to life Vanhal's lighter-scale orchestral compositions with polish and precision. I was favorably impressed with the preceding issues in Naxos' Vanhal series; likewise with this one. If you enjoy 18th century Classical Era music, this disk is right up your alley. Definitely recommended." Report Abuse
 Love Mozart-also Vanhal April 11, 2012 By Carol B. See All My Reviews "This is a wonderful symphony. Just loved it. Love Mozart too." Report Abuse
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