BASIL RAMSEY listens to the world of the 18th century symphony
A well-varied anthology disc of the 18th century symphony
has a useful and artistic purpose. Dr Allan Badley provides an invaluable
introduction to define the styles and composers from various European territories.
There now appear to be over 16,000 symphonies identified, with the landmarks
(Haydn, Mozart, the Bachs and a few others) totalling perhaps 1%.
It is fascinating to listen for the individual touches of superior talents,
some of them indications of features that took root and grew, and some that
died at birth. The average symphony of the time must have had a perilious
existence and maybe only a handful of performances before it was squashed
by the weight of new contenders. Can we truthfully say that all the duds
expired and only the best (in an evolutionary sense) survived?
These performances from various groups maintain a reasonable standard
to evaluate works individually, and to give a necessary 'lift' to the better
works that must be more enjoyable to play. Two other generally-known symphonists
to be found here are Dittersdorf and Stamitz. One or two of the outsiders
could well be added to your list of discoveries. This record is undoubtedly
a door to an incredible repertory largely forgotten.
Copyright © 3 May 2000 Basil Ramsey,
Eastwood, Essex, UK
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