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Krommer: Symphonies 4, 5 & 7 / Griffiths, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana


Release Date: 03/23/2018 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 555125  
Composer:  Franz Krommer
Conductor:  Howard Griffiths
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Franz Krommer (1759-1831) was a first rate composer. As you can see, he was three years younger than Mozart, and outlived both Beethoven and Schubert. During that time, he wrote hundreds of instrumental works: chamber music, concertos, nine symphonies (No. 8 is missing), and the wind ensemble music on which his reputation now largely rests. Interestingly, he composed almost no vocal music. The quality of his output is very high: he really sounds like the natural successor to Haydn in many respects. His symphonies are almost exactly contemporary with Beethoven’s, and rather than sounding conservative or reactionary, we can hear them as part of an evolving tradition–different but not necessarily
Read more inferior.

Krommer’s idiom evolved as he aged. These three symphonies date from the 1820s, and reveal a composer moving comfortably within the classical style (of which he was a charter member, let’s not forget), but extending its expressive range through vivid orchestration and an expanded harmonic vocabulary. In its rhythms and frequent alternation between major and minor modes, his music also sounds recognizably Czech. Consider the dance movements in each of these three symphonies. Although he calls them “Menuetto,” they are true scherzos (sound clip), full of harmonic and rhythmic audacities. You won’t find Beethoven’s bigness of vision here, but then you don’t find that anywhere else either. In all other respects, these are outstandingly fine works.

The symphonies have been recorded previously (most of them, anyway), but these versions from Howard Griffiths are exemplary in their stylishness and alertness to every nuance that Krommer asks for. The findings of the period instrument movement manifest in the generally swift tempos and incisive accents, but this never becomes a fetish. Excellent engineering makes this release utterly irresistible. We badly need a systematic critical edition of Krommer’s works, accompanied by a wide ranging series of recordings. In the meantime, grab this and marvel.

– ClassicsToday (David Hurwitz) Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 4, Op. 102 by Franz Krommer
Conductor:  Howard Griffiths
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
Period: Classical 
Written: Vienna, Austria 
2.
Symphony No. 5, Op. 105 by Franz Krommer
Conductor:  Howard Griffiths
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
Period: Classical 
Written: Austria 
3.
Symphony No. 7, WoO by Franz Krommer
Conductor:  Howard Griffiths
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
Period: Classical 
Written: Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Wonderful Music; Wonderful Performce June 17, 2019 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "Recorded over a period of three and a half years, this fine CPO disk presents 3 scintillating symphonies by yet another overlooked and largely forgotten Austrian composer, Franz Krommer. Dating from the 1820's, Symphonies #4, 5, and7 are all minor key works, but this does absolutely nothing to hide the effervescent buoyance and good cheer pervading all 3 symphonies. This is material that Haydn could have produced, had he lived for another 25 years or so. As for the performance, Switzerland's excellent Orchestra della Svizzera italiana plays the works with pep and precision, and conductor Howard Griffiths' energetic pacing seems perfect. In short, CPO has once again given us a disk which is a total delight on the ear. I can't imagine anyone not being attracted to this infectious music; I certainly was. Recommended without hesitation." Report Abuse
 Inspired by Beethoven November 8, 2018 By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA) See All My Reviews "This is the second volume of Krommer symphonies from Griffiths and the Orchestra della Svizzera italiana. The first volume covered Krommer's first three symphonies. This release features three symphonies; only two of which were published. Franz Krommer was based in Vienna, a younger contemporary of Ludwig van Beethoven. Krommer's 1819 Symphony No. 4 in C minor seems an attempt to meet the standards set by Beethoven. And in some ways, he succeeds. The symphony is full of energy that threatens to break loose at any moment. Krommer marks sections with big orchestral gestures and dramatic contrasts. All in all, it's a well-crafted work. The 1821 Symphony No. 5 in E-flat major also shows some Beethoven influence. It has some similarities to the "Eroica" symphony -- especially in the opening movement. But it's more festive and upbeat work. So add a dash of Haydn to the mix. Krommer's Symphony No. 7 in G minor was never published. Only the first movement was given a reading during Krommer's lifetime. This 1824 work is the most ambitious of the three. Krommer more fully explores the possibilities of motivic development. The final movement has a wonderful fugal section that leads to a rousing and satisfying finish. Under Howard Griffiths, the Orchestra della Svizzera italiana delivers some high-energy performances. Even if you missed the first volume, this release is worth a listen. Franz Krommer may have worked in Beethoven's shadow, but he had something original to say in each of his symphonies." Report Abuse
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