Review by: David Hurwitz
Artistic Quality: 9
Sound Quality: 9
Franz Krommer was such a fine composer–perhaps not the most original voice of his age (1759-1831), but a really good musician who could produce characterful ideas and treat them imaginatively. Both of these symphonies are relatively late works. They have appealing tunes, a wide range of moods, bracing rhythms, and confident, colorful scoring. Listen to Krommer’s handling of the woodwind and brass instruments, especially in the finales, or to the almost Beethovenish energy in the scherzos. He was, in short, a real symphonist, and despite the fact that both works are nominally written “in” major keys, there’s plenty of harmonic contrast to keep you guessing–not least in the impressive first movement introductions.
As with other discs in this series, Howard Griffiths leads confident and lively performances, very well recorded. The rhythms, phrasing, firm timpani and bold brass interjections suggest the influence of “historically informed performance,” but not to the point of sounding mannered or mechanical. The slow movements really sing, and string timbres have the necessary warmth. Both works last about half an hour, and there wasn’t a dull moment in either of them. All in all, if you’ve been collecting this series, then this new release will be a mandatory acquisition. Get it while you can.
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Recording Details:Reference Recording: None
- KROMMER, FRANZ:Symphonies Nos. 6 and 9