About this Recording
8.553498 - KROMMER: Partitas for Wind Ensemble Op. 57, 71 and 78
English 

Franz Vinzenz Krommer (1759 -1831)

Franz Vinzenz Krommer (1759 -1831)

 

Partitas For Wind Ensemble

(Harmoniemusik)

 

Partita in F Major, Op. 57

(for two oboes, two clarinets, two horns, two bassoons & double bassoon)

Partita in B Flat Major, Op. 78

(for two oboes, two clarinets, two horns, two bassoons & double bassoon)

Partita in E Flat Major, Op. 71

(for two oboes, two clarinets, two horns, two bassoons & double bassoon)

From Six Marches, Op. 31

(for two oboes, two clarinets, two horns, two bassoons, double bassoon & trumpet)

 

Franz Vinzenz Krommer, otherwise, by birth, Frantisek Vincenc Kramcif, was born in Kamenice in 1759, the son of an inn-keeper and later mayor of the town. His uncle, Anton Matthias Krommer was a musician and worked from 1766 until his death in 1804 as teacher and choirmaster at Turan, where he instructed, among others, his own ten children and taught his nephew violin and organ, leaving hirn to acquire on his own a knowledge of theory. In 1785 Franz Krommer went to Vienna, finding employment from there in the musical establishment of the Count of Styrum in Sirnonturnya (Sirnonthurn) as a violinist, becoming, two years later, Kapellmeister. Late in 1790 he was appointed master of choristers at Pecs Cathedral (Fünfkirchen). From 1793 he served as a Kapellmeister to a certain Count Karolyi and from some point as Kapellmeister to Prince Anton Grassalkovich de Gyarak, until the latter's death in 1795. From then onwards, returning to Vienna, he found increased favour among patrons, becoming Kapellmeister in about 1798 to Count Ignaz Fuchs. His application in 1806 to join the Vienna Hofkapelle as a violinist was rejected but in 1810 he was appointed Music Director of the Ballet at the Court Theatre. In June 1815 he was appointed Kammertürhüter to the Emperor, accompanying the Emperor Pranz Ion visits to Paris and to Padua and other cities of Northern Italy. Three years later he followed Kozeluch as Imperial Chamber Kapellmeister and Court Composer, holding this position until his death in 1831.

 

Franz Krommer was a prolific and highly respected composer, with a significant, popular and substantial addition to the string quartet repertoire. His concertos include a number of works for his own instrument, the violin, and, now of greater interest, for wind instruments. These last include two concertos for two clarinets, as well as concertos for groups of wind instruments. There is a quantity of other chamber music, including 26 string quintets and other quintets that feature a wind instrument with a string quartet.

 

Harmonie-Musik, music for wind ensemble, held an important position in the eighteenth century, serving particularly as Tafelmusik (Table Music) to accompany dinner. By the end of the century the most frequently found ensemble consisted of eight parts, pairs of oboes, clarinets, French horns and bassoons, with an additional 16 foot part for double bassoon or double bass to add depth. This number of players became current in Vienna from 1782, with the encouragement of the Emperor Joseph II, who from 1787 employed two clarinettists, the Stadler brothers, in the Court Orchestra. It was for one of these groups in Vienna that Krommer w rote his thirteen Harmonien. While Krommer's music for wind ensemble is original, it was also common practice for wind-bands to play their own transcriptions of popular operas, and Mozart himself had transcribed the music of his first successful opera in Vienna in 1782, Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio), while incorporating table-music of this kind in his Don Giovanni five years later. The fashion gradually waned in the altered circumstances of the early nineteenth century.

 

The three examples of Harmoniemusik included in the present recording were probably written in Vienna immediately before Krommer's appointment as Ballett-KapeIlmeister to the Court Theatre. They are in characteristic classical style, the musical language of Haydn and Mozart, each in four movements that follow customary forms of chamber music rather than multi-movement compositions common in divertimenti or in operatic transcriptions. Bach starts with an Allegro, followed by a Minuet, a slow or relatively slow movement and a more rapid final movement. They are clearly intended for players of some accomplishment and show both elegance and wit in their instrumental writing, not least in the finale of Opus 71, with its soulful introduction and final hunt, aptly introduced by the horn, immediately followed by the rest of the ensemble.

 

Krommer's Six Marches, in which a solo trumpet also takes part, are undated, but may belong to his period in the service of Count Ignaz Fuchs. These are crafted with the expected skin and serve their purpose admirably. 


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