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Franz Krommer: Symphonies Nos. 1-3
By Howard Griffiths

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By Howard Griffiths and Orchestra della Svizzera italiana. By Franz Krommer (1759-1831). Country of Origin: Germany. Classical. Listening CD. Published by Naxos (NX.555099-2).

Item Number: NX.555099-2

Franz Krommer was once a highly regarded composer, but he then ceased to be remembered more quickly and disappeared more completely than any other creative musician of his generation. It was not until 1997 that the Czech musicologist Karel Padrta compiled a thorough catalogue of his works including a biographical introduction. Krommer all too long was overshadowed by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, and it is only recently that his oeuvre has begun to attract increased attention. Krommer's oeuvre focuses almost exclusively on instrumental music. In his first symphony he succeeds in forming a thoroughly individual synthesis of stylistic elements recalling Haydn and Mozart, while in his second such work he largely distances himself from these models and develops a symphonic style all of his own. The slow introduction of the first movement, which begins in forte with a gloomy D minor triadic chord, immediately presents a tone quite different from that of his early works and develops an individual sound character with a fitting continuation in the following Allegro vivace's main movement complex distinguished by strong dynamic contrasts and constantly oscillating between major and minor. Krommer's third symphony is comparatively conventional, which may have to do with the fact that it is based on an older source and was merely reworked for its publication.

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