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BASIL RAMSEY listens to the world of the 18th century symphony

Naxos 8.554761

Record Box


The World of the 18th-Century Symphony. Copyright (c) 2000 HNH International Ltd.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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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Wednesday series of shorter CD reviews