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What are you listening to today?

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Author Topic: What are you listening to today?  (Read 11373 times)
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« Reply #360 on: April 13, 2018, 05:46:15 pm »

today's offering on the turntable (CD) is  Ignaz Pleyel: Symphonies in B Flat & G / Flute Concerto in C    on the Naxos label.
Sinfonia Finlandia Jyvaskyla (Orchestra)

some notes:
Considered by Joseph Haydn to his best student, Ignaz Pleyel (1757-1831) learned well, composing in a wide variety of genres before founding a music publishing company and a piano manufacturer. Counted among his works are 41 symphonies, 70 string quartets, 17 quintets, and numerous trios, duets, and concertos. Considered by Mozart to be Haydn’s likely successor, he’s not quite viewed that way today. In his time, he was the most popular composer in Vienna.

Written some time before 1784, the four movement B Flat Symphony opens with a sweeping ‘Allegro assai’ in a supple triple meter. Displaying a deft use of large scale forces, Pleyel employs hushed urgency in the strings against appealing orchestral color supplied by the winds and horns. Although set in major, long passages spool out in minor, giving this impressive 1st section a dark and dramatic undertone. Mincing violins and playful oboes enliven the following movement, a quirky ‘Andantino’ that is in F Major. Broad horns initiate the sturdy ‘Minuetto’ while the contrasting trio is full of sophisticated grace. Bristling with driving energy, the closing ‘Allegro’ is a vigorous rondo with engaging syncopation.

Also penned before 1784, the symphony in G Major begins with a breathless triple metered ‘Allegro assai’ as the initial section. An unfailing good nature prevails, despite the brief excursions into minor, which serve to create a nuanced contrast rather developing emotional depth. Above all, taste and elegance predominate. Composed in G Minor, the ensuing ‘Andante’ is exquisite. Over ominous figures in the lower strings, the violins weave a melancholy melody whose somber tone is that is matched in the central passage. With horns soaring overhead, a single oboe spins an enchanting echo. After the delightful ‘Minuetto’ that is characterized by a charmingly hesitant rhythm, a sparkling ‘Presto’ closes the work. Bright and lively, the sunny finale features brisk pacing without feeling hurried or frenetic.

Formal and deliberate, the opening ‘Allegro” of the C Major Flute Concerto sets the stage for the liquid tones of the soloist, who exhibits a formidable technique. Composed much later, probably in the late 1790’s, the three movement work effortlessly intersperses the orchestral backing among the breath patterns of the single wind. Characterized by high dynamic contrasts, the symphonic support is balanced and appropriate, particularly in the pianissimo passages during the inventive flute solos. After a series of spiraling triplets in the orchestra that introduces the F Major ‘Adagio’, a single silvery note flying high above announces the solo wind instrument. With a warmly welcoming tone and just a hint of vibrato, Patrick Gallois delivers the delicate passion inherent in this superb middle movement. Complete with hunting horn calls, the final ‘Allegretto molto’ is a rousing rondo that bring the concerto and the disc to a joyful conclusion.

Issued in 2010, the excellent recording is crisp and sharply detailed. Under the adept direction of Patrick Gallois, the 38 member Sinfonia Finlandia Jyvaskla brings a skilled and enthusiastic reading to these three symphonic works of Pleyel. Fine examples of his considerable talent, they offer a compelling argument to support Mozart and show why Pleyel was so highly regarded in his day.

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