Franz Krommer: Symphonies 6 and 9 - Howard Griffiths. © 2020 cpo

CD Spotlight

Lively and Dynamic

GEOFF PEARCE listens to symphonies by Czech composer Franz Krommer

'This interesting and enjoyable disc will delight most listeners rather than astound them.'


Franz Krommer (1759-1831) was a well known and respected composer within his lifetime and was resident in Vienna during most of his professional career. I was familiar with some of his output through the excellent music for wind octets and other wind ensembles, as well as a number of his wind concertos. I erroneously assumed that he was largely a composer of wind music. On searching for articles online, as well as reading through the excellent notes that come with the CD, I learnt that he wrote over seventy string quartets, nine symphonies, concertos and religious music.

Listen — Franz Krommer: Andante allegro (Symphony No 6 in D)
(track 2, 6:42-7:36) © 2020 cpo :

The recording of the two symphonies presented on this disc show the Orchestra della Svizzera italiana and Howard Griffiths as an excellent orchestra and conductor. The acoustics are quite lively with a pleasing amount of reverberation.

Listen — Franz Krommer: Finale (Symphony No 6 in D)
(track 4, 0:00-0:56) © 2020 cpo :

The dates of the two works are 1823 and 1830 - the latter being completed just four months before the composer's death. Unfortunately much of Krommer's music was forgotten after his death and it is doubtful that a performance of the ninth symphony occurred during the composer's lifetime.

Listen — Franz Krommer: Allegro assai (Symphony No 9 in C)
(track 5, 9:16-10:03) © 2020 cpo :

The accompanying programme notes give an excellent break down of the formal elements of the movements, and these symphonies fall into the early nineteenth century style that was prevalent in Vienna around the time they were written. I found the music to be lively and dynamic. There are some surprising shifts and modulations that certainly add interest and the composer reveals himself as a fine orchestrator.

Listen — Franz Krommer: Menuetto allegretto. Trio (Symphony No 9 in C)
(track 7, 0:00-0:50) © 2020 cpo :

This interesting and enjoyable disc will delight most listeners rather than astound them. It is great that orchestras and recording companies are straying beyond the well-trodden paths. I wish more concert events would feature some of these hidden gems. This is a disc to be really enjoyed.

Copyright © 22 July 2020 Geoff Pearce,
Sydney, Australia






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