MYSLIVECEK Symphonies Concerto Köln

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JOSEF MYSLIVECEK

Il divino Boemo

Symphonien · Symphonies
Concerto Köln
Int. Release 02 Jan. 2007
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0289 477 6418 2 DDD AH
ARCHIV Produktion
Concerto Köln offers a sparkling introduction to Josef Mysliveèek, the “Czech Mozart”


Liste de titres

Josef Myslivecek (1737 - 1781)
Overtures for 2 horns, 2 oboes and strings

Overture No.2 in A

Symphony in F for 2 horns, 2 oboes and strings

Symphony in C for 2 horns, 2 flutes, 2 oboes and strings

Symphony in G for 2 horns, 2 oboes and strings

Symphony in E flat for 2 horns, 2 oboes and strings

15.
0:00
1:36

Sinfonie concertanti for Strings

Sinfonia No.6 in C

18.
0:00
2:37

Concertino No.1 in E Flat for 2 horns, 2 flutes, 2 clarinets, basson and strings

20.
0:00
4:22

Concerto Köln

Durée totale de lecture 1:06:24

. . . Concerto Köln offers an exhilarating authentic-band experience that shows just why Myslivecek exerted such a powerful influence over the young Mozart.

The horns, especially, have some fearsome athletic challenges, all surmounted with bravado by the players of Concerto Köln. Throughout the disc this superb period band do "Il Boemo" proud with sharply characterised playing that combines fizzing, crackling energy, shapely lyricism in the slow movements and a crucial sense of enjoyment.

Concerto Köln . . . plays at its usual impeccable level: nuanced phrasing, little joie-de-vivre moments of flipped-up grace notes, crisp articulation, inflections in loving color. The orchestra does justice to Mozart¿s friend, and the music has wonderfully satisfying moments.

. . . the brightness of Myslivecek's orchestral writing, as rendered with winning vivacity by Concerto Köln, is a constant pleasure.

Along with some irresistible music, the performances of the period-instrument group offer attractive pleasures of their own, with accurate, smooth strings and dazzling wind playing. The engineering is on the same high level. Here's hoping for more Myslivecek by the Concerto Köln.

The C major last work in the set . . . appears on Concerto Köln's disc of Myslivecek's music, in a performance of infinitely greater liveliness and polish; and the presence of a harpsichord continuo enhances the stylishness of the interpretation as a whole. The remaining works all have prominent wind parts, with Myslivecek showing a fondness for second subjects scored for solo oboes or flutes playing in parallel thirds. The most spectacular piece is a Concertino in E flat . . .

They are engaging works, transparent in texture, filled with rhythmic drive, simple but attractive tunes . . . I find myself most pleased with their serene, lightly scored central movements, whose calm still conceals surprises . . . The performances are alert, clean, and technically proficient . . . the sound quality balances the ensemble well, with great presence to the sections and individual instruments. In short, truly a great pleasure to hear.

. . . Myslivecek [kultivierte] tatsächlich ¿ der Wiener Klassik durchaus vergleichbar ¿ aufbauend auf dem empfindsamen und galanten Stil eine neue, dramatisch durchpulste Tonsprache von perfekter Harmonie zwischen Ausdruck und formaler Beherrschung. Die Musikanten des Concerto Köln unter Werner Erhardt spielen Sinfonien Mysliveceks mit Animo und Eleganz. Eine Entdeckung.

. . . die Wiedergabe der sinfonischen Preziosen ist fulminant und mitreißend. Da kommt keine Langeweile auf: Die Themen werden prägnant und plastisch vorgetragen, die Genauigkeit von Phrasierung und Artikulation lässt die Musik förmlich sprechen, Präzision des Zusammenspiels und die klangliche Balance des Ensembles tragen darüber wesentlich zum Gelingen bei. Auffallend ist dabei die führende Rolle, die Myslivecek in den meisten Werken den Bläsern anvertraut, denn hieraus resultiert ¿ ebenso wie aus der klanglichen Präsenz der Bläser in der klanglichen Umsetzung ¿ ganz entscheidend das persönliche Profil der Kompositionen. Insbesondere die Kopfsätze der Sinfonien F-Dur, G-Dur und Es-Dur fallen durch ihre enorme Farbigkeit auf . . . Heimlicher Höhepunkt der CD ist jedoch die einzige konzertante Komposition der Einspielung, das Concertino Es-Dur, das durch seine außergewöhnliche Solobesetzung von zwei Klarinetten, zwei Hörnern und Fagott auffällt. Die Soloinstrumente treten hier einzeln oder in unterschiedlichen Kombinationen alternierend auf, was sich dem Hörer in einem ständigen klangfarblichen Changieren mitteilt, während zwei Flöten den Orchesterstreichern eine zusätzliche Farbe verleihen. Das ist alles so abwechslungsreich und lebendig, dass man davon gern noch viel mehr hören möchte . . .

Allemal handelt es sich um elegante Stücke, die italienische Kantabilität und böhmisches Musikantentum aufs Glücklichste miteinander verbinden -- Musik, die dank des klangschön abgerundeten Spiels von Concerto Köln, mit Mozart zu sprechen, "gut ins gehör" geht.

Mysliveceks Musik hat etwas vor-mozartisch Anrührendes, emotional in die Tiefe Gehendes, kann sich mit Haydn oder Johann Christian Bach durchaus messen; überhaupt wenn sie so frisch und lebendig gespielt wird wie in dieser Aufnahme vom Concerto Köln.

. . . die Musiker [zwingen] hier mehr als einmal zum staunenden Zuhören. Auch scheinbar abgedroschenen Wendungen bringen sie Individualität bei . . . Concerto Köln spielt so fantasievoll und farbig auf, wie man es gewohnt ist . . . Die federnde Eleganz, mit der sie Myslivecek zelebrieren, gibt ihnen Recht.

Das Concerto Köln stellte eine gelungene Übersicht zusammen, die Mysliveceks quirlige Melodienfülle, lebenslustvolle "Spiritoso"-Grundstimmung (Tr. 13) und seine Klangfarbenseligkeit einfangen -- etwa das Hornpedal (Tr. 4). Das ist nicht aufmüpfig wie Beck, sondern erinnert eher an Divertimenti Mozarts, was heißt: Es unterhält. Und das tut -- wenn es so perfekt dargeboten wird und so sinnlich klingt -- richtig gut.

Concerto Köln spielt diese Werke mit Hingabe und bringt die Qualitäten dieser Sinfonien voll zum Tragen. Insbesondere die Bläser sollten mit Ehren erwähnt werden.

Un disque plein de panache et de saveurs opulents.

El derroche de virtuosismo instrumental, de sonoridades frescas y coloreadas e incisividad rítmica que despliega Concerto Köln traduce a la perfección la gracia mozartiana . . . y la inflamada expresividad heredada de C. P E. Bach . . . , así como las jugosas alianzas tímbricas con que «Il divino boemo» otorga vida al chispeante Concertino.

... Werner Ehrdardt dirige varias de las peculiares sinfonías concertantes del bohemio, recreándose en el virtuosismo de su escritura para viento, en el audaz desarrollo temático y en su voluptuosa vivacidad, cuya huella en la obra del Mozart joven resulta evidente.
Il divino Boemo

It sounds like a subject for a romantic short story: a young Bohemian miller abandons the mill that he has inherited from his father in order to fulfil his life's wish and become a musician. His gifts are such that after studying briefly in Prague, he moves to Italy and is soon enjoying one success after another as an opera composer. Female members of the aristocracy swarm all over him, he is rumoured to have had affairs with the most famous prima donnas, and opera houses vie for his works. In short, the miller's son from Prague, who was known simply as "il Boemo" - "the Bohemian" - because of his outlandish name, enjoyed a sensational career. But his luck did not last. Ailing and disfigured by a botched operation, he fell out of favour with polite society just as quickly as he had gained entry to it. Utterly destitute, he died in Rome at the age of forty-three and received a decent burial only thanks to the generosity of an English music lover.

The life of adventure led by Josef Mysliveček (1737-81) has certainly provided the subject matter for several novels. And in 1912 the composer Stanislav Suda even made him the tragic hero of his opera Il divino Boemo. But attempts to document his life on the strength of historical sources continue to reveal considerable gaps in our knowledge, especially of his youth and years of study. Even many details concerning his years of success and his personal characteristics would be unknown, were it not for the surviving correspondence of the Mozart family, in which Mysliveček is frequently mentioned. At their very first meeting in Bologna in March 1770, Leopold and the then fourteen-year-old Mozart at once became friendly with the evidently extremely charming Bohemian, whom they met again on several subsequent occasions in the course of their next two visits to Italy. Father and son thought highly of Mysliveček's emotionally charged music, with its original rhythms and cantabile melodies. Its influence is apparent at a number of points in Mozart's works from the early 1770s, most notably Ascanio in Alba K. 111, La Betulia liberata K. 118 and, above all, Il sogno di Scipione K. 126.

Given their mutual sympathy, Mozart's shock was considerable when he encountered his friend again in 1777, this time not in an opera house but in hospital: Mysliveček's nose had been burnt away by a mountebank surgeon during an operation for what is thought to have been syphilis. For days afterwards, Mozart could neither eat nor sleep. Mysliveček, meanwhile, was already drawing up new plans and even offered to procure Mozart a scrittura at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. The fact that nothing came of his offer will have been due not so much to ill will or envy but to Mysliveček's inflated estimation of his own influence. But Leopold Mozart suspected "machinations" on Mysliveček's part and urged his son to break off all relations with him. As the Dutch musicologist Marius Flothius has noted, Mozart ignored his father's advice and remained loyal to his friend at least on a musical level: the canzonetta Ridente la calma K. 152 (210a) is an adaptation of an aria from Mysliveček's opera Armida of 1779.

For Mozart, Mysliveček's works offered a repository of new ideas. The sinfonias and the Concertino recorded here literally teem with freshly minted melodies, harmonic surprises and highly effective changes of tone colour, all of them combined with a fiery temperament that was typical of Mysliveček himself. Often the individual movements seem too short to encompass the wealth of ideas that they contain, and the listener is bound to regret that "il Boemo" did not try to work them out at greater length. But the shortness of his sinfonias was determined by their original function as operatic overtures, their aim being to capture the audience's attention and inspire a sense of anticipatory pleasure and excitement rather than to develop the thematic material in elaborate detail. Mysliveček's overture-sinfonias are among the last representatives of a three-movement Italianate model that had been established since around 1700 but which was replaced around 1770 by a single-movement overture musically related to the content of the opera itself. As early as 1750 we already find writers criticizing the lack of any connection between the traditional sinfonia and the following dramma per musica, and yet even after this, composers continued to cling to the older form in order to be able to use the introductions to popular operas as self-contained works in the concert hall, a genre that finally broke completely free from the theatre and assumed a new guise as the concert symphony. But the old terminology continued in use for some time to come, so that even as late as 1791 Joseph Haydn's "London" Symphonies were still being advertised as "New Grand Overtures".

Mysliveček wrote fifty or so sinfonias or symphonies. Some were not published until years after they were written, while others survive in undated copies, making it difficult to place them in strict chronological order. The earliest of the works included in the present release is the Sinfonia VI in C major, which is taken from a set of set string quintets published in Paris in 1767/8 and, according to their title-page, performable also as "sinfonie concertanti". In 1772 the London publisher William Napier brought out the Ouverture II in A major in a collection of works by various composers. The remaining four sinfonias in E flat major, F major, C major and G major were written between 1778 and 1780. Their richly varied scoring demonstrates Mysliveček's predilection for woodwind instruments and horns, a feature that may be described, albeit guardedly, as typically Bohemian and which finds its most delightful expression in the Concertino in E flat major of around 1775-7. Two clarinets, two horns and a bassoon are employed here either individually or in various combinations as solo instruments, while flutes are used to double the violins in the tutti passages. Mysliveček presumably wrote this and five similarly scored concertos for an aristocratic patron who maintained a private wind band that would play light music and Tafelmusik. Mysliveček seems to have been the only composer to include such a group in a concerto, and since wind players of the late 18th century were generally extremely proficient on their instruments, his Concertino provides the listener with a pyrotechnical display of virtuoso wind writing.

Dorothea Schröder
10/2006