WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Baroque Bohemia & Beyond Vol 6 / Chromcak, Czech Chamber Philharmonic

Chromcak / Czech Chamber Philharmonic
Release Date: 10/16/2012 
Label:  Musical Concepts   Catalog #: 1201   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Christoph SchimpkeFlorian Leopold GassmannVojtech Jirovec
Conductor:  Petr Chromcak
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The sixth volume in the compelling and popular series that explores the wide range of exceptional - but lesser known - compositional talent of Bohemia in the Baroque era (and, of course, beyond!). Recording these pieces for the first time ever, the Czech Chamber Philharmonic creates a vital essence to their national ancestors' works, compositions that laid the groundwork for the Classical era of Haydn and Mozart.


This is part of a now long-running series devoted, as the title indicates, to the music of Baroque Bohemia and indeed ‘beyond’. It has reached volume six with this latest release. Whether Baroque or, as here, pre- or indeed solidly Classical, this series is revealing just how full of depth is the
Read more wellspring of the Bohemian musical diaspora. If the names Schimpke, Gassmann and Jírovec mean little or nothing to you, then you are certainly not alone. But each composer offers a revealing sidelight on both his heritage and his milieu, as reflected in these three works. All are orchestral.

Christoph Schimpke, for example, offers a Symphony in F major (or, more properly, Sinfonia). Not much appears to be known about the composer, who died in 1789. He was born in Tetschen (modern day Decín) on the Elbe, near Dresden. His early years seems shrouded in mystery, but for the last two decades of his life he was employed by the Prince Bishop of Breslau, primarily a bassoonist in the elite band that Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf had built up.

The Sinfonia is a spacious, well laid out work, full of maestoso energy and control. The Czech Chamber Philharmonic under their director Petr Chromcák take the slow movement at a good walking pace, vesting it with genial charm and a strongly etched bass line. It’s a modern instrument band, and very responsive to the prevailing musical ethos of Schimpke’s time. The bassoon, the composer’s own instrument, wiggles away delightfully in the third movement enjoying piquant little concertante moments. In the finale general high spirits are unleashed, though the level of invention is not wholly distinctive. Nevertheless, it’s an engaging, thoroughly proficient work made droller by virtue of that semi-independent, concertante bassoon line.

Leopold Florian Gassmann was born in 1729 in Most, not far from Decín. A singer, fiddle player and harpist he gravitated to Venice, and then to Vienna where he succeeded Gluck as ballet composer in the city. A famous pupil of his in Vienna was Salieri. Gassmann was renowned as an opera composer but he was also a prolific symphonist. His four-movement Symphony in C minor reveals a consistently elevated musical mind at work. Thematic material is varied, lyricism is refined, and each movement serves its schematic function with great assurance. Orchestration is deft and the Poco andante, which is played as such as well, is enlivening. This is all-round a most effective work.

The last of the trio is Vojtech Jírovec, also known as Adalbert Gyrowetz. Born in the town of Ceské Budejovice - where Budvar beer comes from – he was a notable linguist who worked in Prague for a number of years before moving, like Gassmann, to Vienna. There one of his symphonies was performed in a series arranged by Mozart. He met Haydn in London, before returning to Vienna where he befriended Beethoven – indeed he was one of the pallbearers at Beethoven’s funeral. His Symphony has a concertante role for the oboe. The galant and fluent music is nevertheless full of unexpected harmonic twists and turns. It also reveals the influence of Haydn. The droll bird calls, chirping high and repeated low down, are a delicious touch in the third movement Minuet and the Adagio is no less pleasing in its lilting lyricism.

These three works, all by lesser known émigré composers, all offer up delightful surprises and noteworthy features. They’re played with grace and warmth. And whether Baroque or, indeed, Beyond they are well worth a listen.

– Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

Sinfonia ex F by Christoph Schimpke
Conductor:  Petr Chromcak
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Symphony in C minor by Florian Leopold Gassmann
Conductor:  Petr Chromcak
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Symphony in F major by Vojtech Jirovec
Conductor:  Petr Chromcak
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Baroque 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Excellent! March 3, 2013 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "In this outstanding volume from Alto's (Musical Concepts) survey of lesser known Bohemian composers, three substantial compositions by Christoph Schimpke, Leopold Gassman, and Vojtech Jirovec are presented. One would be hard pressed indeed to construct a program of works by more unrecognizable composers than these. Nevertheless, the recording is a real revelation, with 3 sinfonias varying in length from 21 to 26 minutes and offering lively, entertaining content. Like the previous volumes in Alto's imaginative project, the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra plays with elegant precision and panache. Fans of the late Baroque and early Classical eras will surely like this disk, which I wholeheartedly recommend for a fine listening experience." Report Abuse
Review This Title