Magazine article Gramophone

'The Birth of the Symphony'

Magazine article Gramophone

'The Birth of the Symphony'

Article excerpt

'The Birth of the Symphony'

Handel Saul, HWV53-Sinfonia Haydn Symphony No 49, 'La Passione' Mozart Symphony No 1, K16

FX Richter Grande Simphonie No 7 J Stamitz Sinfonia a 4 in D

Academy of Ancient Music / Richard Egarr hpd

AAM [F] AAM001 (71 * DDD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

AAM on 'the symphony' from entertainment to exaltation

From its origins in the operatic overture, the symphony evolved from an entertainment to be chattered or munched through to a vehicle for a composer's most exalted thoughts. By 1750 symphonies were being produced on an industrial scale, not least in Mannheim, whose orchestra was renowned throughout Europe for its power and pizzazz.

After their Handelian entree, the Academy of Ancient Music launch their conspectus of the early symphony with two composers associated with Mannheim, Franz Xaver Richter and Johann Stamitz. Richter's symphony of c1740 mingles pounding energy and a faintly chaotic quirkiness. Neither here nor in the D major Symphony by Johann Stamitz is there anything that could be called a melody, though the first movement of the Stamitz entertains with its frenetic violin-writing. For all its slightness, Mozart's prepubescent symphony already shows a feeling for balance and a suavity of line influenced by his contact with JC Bach in London. …

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