Mixing Up The Classical Classical Diet

Review by: Jens F. Laurson

ROSETTI_symphonies-concertos-Moesus_Hamburger-Symphoniker_jens-f-laurson_classical-critic

Artistic Quality: 8

Sound Quality: 9

It isn’t, strictly speaking, absolutely necessary to compare Antonio Rosetti (1750-1792) to Haydn or Mozart. But as soon as you hear a few bars of his D major symphony those two superstars of the classical-classical era will pop to mind. Not that the comparison is new; it was common enough even in the composer’s lifetime. His fame spread from eastern Swabia in Germany’s South-West into the greater musical world, and he became, alongside Swede Johann Martin Kraus, one of the primary exponents of the classical style outside of Vienna. (Incidentally, both Rosetti and Kraus died the same year, the year after Mozart.) Such was his reputation that when Mozart–who had been spurred by Rosetti’s horn concertos to write his own–died, the officials in Prague who wanted to throw a memorial service turned to Rosetti–born Franz Anton Rösler in the tranquil little Leitmeritz (Litoměřice)–for a requiem.

These recordings from 2001/02, two individual releases now re-issued as a double-CD set, contain five of about 50 extant Rosetti symphonies and three of almost 70 concertos–one each for oboe, flute, and two violins. What they communicate is that for all the lovely Mozart and Haydn works we can so easily get our ears on, it’s decidedly worthwhile to indulge in other composers of the time. There’s plenty of enjoyment and diversion in it–certainly with these very pleasant, alert, and passionate performances by the Rosetti-loving Johannes Moesus with the very decent Hamburg Symphony. A good place to start.



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Recording Details:

  • ROSETTI, ANTONIO:
    4 Symphonies in D major; Symphony in B-flat major; Symphonie Concertante; Oboe Concerto, Flute Concerto
  • Christian Specht (oboe); Susabe Barner (flute); Stefan Czermak, Akiko Tanaka (violins)
  • Hamburg Symphony, Johannes Moesus

  • MDG - 601 2056-2
  • CD

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