About this Recording
8.553868 - KROMMER: Partitas for Wind Ensemble Op. 45, Nos. 1-2

Born in the country we now know as Czechoslovakia, Franz Krommer, was the son of an innkeeper and the nephew of a famous local musician. His own musical education appears to have started in his teenage years, with tuition on the organ and violin from his uncle. It lasted for no more than three years, at which time he taught himself the basics of composition. At the age of 18 he found himself local employment as an organist, but his career only blossomed when he moved top Vienna at the age of 25. A number of orchestral appointments led to his joining the royal court as performer and composer. Strangely enough he did not seek publication of his music until the latter years of his life, when it became instantly fashionable throughout Europe, and together with Haydn, was regarded as the leading composer of string quartets at that time.

As he worked much of his life in Austria he adopted the Germanic title of his original name, Kramár, and it is that which is now most used. However to complicate matters he is also know as Krommer- Kramár.

Composed in 1803, the partitas come from the early part of Krommer's compositional life. It is strange to relate that without any formal training in composition, he had already reached a level of excellence as to place him in a position to teach composition in Vienna. Though now living in the refined atmosphere of the Austrian

Capital, his music still retains the rustic quality of his upbringing. This proves a distinct benefit within the present context, as the wind group can create a vivid and colourful pungency. The first two Partitas are in four movements, with even the slow movements having considerable vivacity. He particularly enjoyed the bassoon to whom he gives a very potent and powerful bass, the oboe being afforded the graceful lines. Much of it calls for such a high degree of virtuosity as to demonstrate Krommer’s obvious keen knowledge of instruments, the horn given a particularly demanding role. But above all this is music with tremendous appeal and with a melodic content that would rival any of Mozart’s wind music.

The Michael Thompson Wind Quintet came into existence in 1992, when Barry Tuckwell announced he was leaving the Quintet that had previously carried his name. Michael Thompson, was appointed Principal Horn of the Philharmonia at the age of 21, but resigned in 1985 to pursue a solo career. Jonathan Snowden became Principal Flute of the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1985 after holding the same position with Opera North and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Derek Wickens, a founder member of the Barry Tuckwell Wind Quintet, was Principal Oboe with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for eighteen years, and since 1981 has held the same place in the Opéra Nationale in Brussels, a position that allows him time for solo engagements. Robert Hill is Principal Clarinet of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and has performed widely with the London Sinfonietta and the Nash Ensemble. John Price began his orchestral career as Principal Bassoon of the Ulster Orchestra, and moved to take that role in the London Philharmonic in 1997.  

The Quintet began an extensive series of recordings for Naxos in 1994 which will include music by Danzi, Reicha and major 20th century composers.

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