31 MAY 2023


The albums below are "Classical Releases Of Current Key Significance," or "CROCKS", if you will. To purchase an album, simply click on one of the web site retail outlets given in the "AVAILABILITY" table under the write-up.

The album cover may not always appear.
Classics of American Romanticism (see G.F.Bristow & W.H.Fry); Botstein/TheOrchNow [Bridge]
Here's a release from Bridge Records featuring a couple of colorful symphonies by two composers, who were born and trained in the United States. More specifically, George Frederick Bristow (1825-1898) hailed from Brooklyn, New York, and William Henry Fry's (1813-1864) hometown was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Bristow left a considerable oeuvre that includes five completed symphonies. A few years ago we told you about his Symphony No. 2 "Jullien" (Op. 24; 1853; see 31 January 2016), and now here's the Symphony No. 4 "Arcadian" (Op. 50; 1872). This was written in response to a perfunctory, "C-Note" commission by the Philharmonic Society of Brooklyn.

Consequently, George took the first three of its four movements from instrumental ones he'd already penned for his The Pioneer, A Grand Cantata (Op. 49; 1872: not currently available on disc) and tacked on a new fourth. Incidentally, this is the first complete and currently only available version on disc.

It's program music that limns the journey of American settlers to a new home in the West, and starts with an "Allegro appassionata (Fast and spirited)" movement titled "Emigrants' Journey Across the Plains" [T-1]. This is sonata-form-like with an exposition that has an opening, viola-introduced, itinerant, travelling theme (IT) [00:01]. Then IT is picked up by the orchestra [00:34] and repeated [01:18 & 02:10], thereby bridging into a related, pastoral idea (IP) [02:50].

IP subsequently parents an exploratory serenade [03:19], which waxes and wanes into an IT-initiated, engaging development [05:22]. After that, IT calls up a stunning recapitulation [09:32] with a dramatic pause [14:46], which is followed by a tranquil, IT-based coda [14:48] that ends the movement peacefully.

Then those Emigrants come to an "Andante religioso (Slow and religious)", "Halt on the Prairie" [T-2]. Here they presumably camp for the night, share an evening repast and sing a hymn of thanks.

It's a sonata-formish movement, whose exposition is based on two ideas intoned by the brass, the first of which is somewhat dark (D1) [00:07]. Then there's a pious second (P2) [01:11] that's the melody for the 19th-century American hymn "All praise to Thee, my God, this Night" (c. 1674), which is set to a tune by English composer Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585).

The foregoing waxes and wanes into a D1-initiated, short, dramatic development [02:37], after which D1 parents an extensive recapitulation [05:23] with engaging memories of P2 [06:26]. Then a subdued, D1-P2-amalgamated, chorale-like coda [09:37] brings things to a quiet conclusion.

However, these Emigrants continue their journey westward, and we next get "Indian War Dance and Attack by Indians" [T-3]. This is an "Allegro ma non tanto (Fast, but not too much so)" marked scherzo.

It has frenetic outer sections [00:00 & 03:29] based on a couple of ersatz, à la Bristow, "American-Indian" ideas [00:12 & 00:42]. They're wrapped around a tuneful trio [01:55-03:28] featuring a flowing melody [02:00], and the last one ends this movement in what could be a musical characterization of "Custer's Last Stand".

Then there's "Arrival at the New Home, Rustic Festivities, and Dancing" [T-4], which is an "Allegro con spirito (Fast with spirit)" sonata-form creation. This has an opening, frolicsome, thematic nexus [FN] [00:01] that bridges into a contented, bucolic number (CB) [01:16] ostensibly depicting the safe outcome of these Emigrants' long journey.

The foregoing gives rise to celebratory passages [02:28], that are linked to a blithe development [03:38] with memories of CB [04:52]. This bridges into an FN-introduced, high-stepping recapitulation [06:15] having wisps of CB [beginning at 07:09]. These evoke festal, FN-derived moments [08:04] that become increasingly insistent [08:35]. Then the latter call up a brass-reinforced, drum-roll-laced coda [09:42] that ends the symphony exultantly.

Turning to composer, music-critic and journalist, William Henry Fry (1813-1864), he studied composition in his hometown (see above), and spent a great deal of time writing about music. However, William also managed to pen a significant body of works, before his untimely demise at 51 in the Virgin Islands. These include a number of orchestral pieces, one being his Niagara Symphony (1854), which makes its disc debut here.

This calls for massive forces, and seemingly Fry was the first US composer to write for such a large orchestra. In that regard, the album notes refer to it as "surely one of the most avant-garde works of the 19th century." Incidentally, the scoring includes eleven timpani as well as tubas, ophicleides and bombardones.

Instead of the usual, four movements, this is a single, A-B-A-structured, tone-poem-like piece, lasting about 13 minutes [T-5]. Written around the time when Niagara Falls was a popular subject with artists, it could be considered a musical counterpart of their creations. In that regard, American landscape-painter Frederic Edwin Church's (1826-1900) Niagara Falls (1867) comes to mind.

The opening "A" begins [00:03] with passages for timpani, winds and brass that start softly, but become increasingly powerful. These are a musical depiction of that growing roar heard as one gets closer to the "Falls". Then there's a moving chorale-like theme (MC) [01:59], which undergoes a vivacious exploration.

All this waxes and wanes into a dramatic "B" section [05:00] based on an initial bucolic idea [05:00]. But the foregoing soon fades, and there's another "A" [07:58] with a big-tune version of MC [09:29], plus suggestions of rushing waters [09:59] and swirling rapids [10:22]. These ebb into some sudden, fortissimo chords [11:25] that simply die away, thereby bringing things to an unresolved conclusion, which was quite atypical of classical works written back then.

Both selections receive technically accomplished, committed performances by The Orchestra Now under Swiss-born, American conductor-educator Leon Botstein (b. 1946). He's had a distinguised career in music and founded this Bard College (BC) based, graduate-level, training orchestra back in 2015. Together they introduce us to a couple of symphonic treasures by two, little-known, US composers.

These recordings were made during January, 2022 in BC's Fischer Center and present a generous sonic image of both pieces. The orchestral timbre is characterized by pleasant highs, a concert-like midrange and clean lows. Those timpani in Niagara... [T-5] will give your woofers a real workout!

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, Y230531)

Amazon Records International

The album cover may not always appear.
Hartmann, T. de: Orch Wks V2 (Sym-Poème No. 1, Fantasie-Conc for Dbl Bass & Orch); Bosch/Kuchar/LvivNPOUkr [Toccata]
Russian composer Thomas de Hartmann (1884-1956) is getting to be a regular in these pages (see 31 October 2022), and here's an additional volume of his orchestral music from the enterprising Toccata folks (see 30 September 2022). His background is well covered in the album booklet as well as both of those previously mentioned CROCKS Newsletters, so we'll just concentrate on the musical highpoints of the two selections presented here. Incidentally, both are premiere recordings.

Thomas composed an immense amount of music that includes nearly 100 works for the concert hall as well as over 50 film scores. He also wrote several hundred, Eastern-oriented pieces, mostly for piano, in collaboration with Russian polymath George Gurdjieff (1877-1949).

Our concert begins with his Symphonie-Poeme No. 1 (Op. 50; 1934), which would be followed by three more similarly titled works. The composer says in effect that this is not program music. However, each of its four, stylistically eclectic, colorfully scored movements (see the album booklet) are bound to elicit an emotional response from the listener.

The opening one [T-1] gets off to a "Lent (Slow)" start with a threatening preface [00:00]. It's soon followed by a dark, dire motif (DD) [00:30] that's repeated and explored, thereby transforming into a more lyrical countermelody (LC) [02:52]. Subsequently, the foregoing material powers a brief "Maestoso (Majestic)" outburst [03:40]. It's also food for an "Alla breve (Short): Allegro (Fast)" exploration [04:00] with a big-tune version of LC (BC) [04:37, 04:46 & 05:32] as well as nostalgic remembrances of DD [07:05].

Then the latter bridge into "Allegro risoluto (Fast and tenacious)", developmental passages [10:10] with flashes of BC [11:32 & 11:52]. These wane into whimsical afterthoughts [13:04 & 15:28], the last of which call up a magnificent fugue based on a BC-reminiscent idea [17:10]. This wanes into recollections of DD [19:33] that end the movement in much the same way as it started.

The Scherzo [T-2] begins with twinkling passages [00:00] soon followed by a flowing theme (F1) [00:55]. Then the foregoing is reworked [02:00] giving rise to a second waltzlike idea (W2) [02:43]. W2 is cause for a tuneful exploratory serenade [03:21] that bridges [beginning at 03:51] into a cantankerous variant of F1 [05:29]. This is developmentally jostled about and ebbs into reminiscences of the opening passages [09:48]. Then F1 [10:29] and W2 [11:01] conjure up a dramatic recap that waxes and wanes into melancholy memories of F1 [12:23]. These along with bits of W2 [12:59] bring things to a delightfully delicate conclusion.

The following "Andante" [T-3] has a sinister preface [00:01], soon followed by a lumbering, "tempo marziale (martial time)" section [01:04] with an imposing, dirge-like idea [01:11] This will be the main subject (MS) for the theme-and-variations-like remainder of the movement. Incidentally, going by something the composer once said, MS is based on "a song of a blind Ukrainian kobza player".

MS undergoes a number of sequential, developmental treatments. Initially these range from mercurial [02:56] to songful [03:17], rhapsodic [04:04], fugally flirtatious [05:35], venatic [07:07] and dancelike [07:57 & 08:38]. Then there's a piano-introduced, introspective one [09:54] as well as two yearning variants [11:22 & 12:48], after which a subdued MS [14:35] ends the movement uneventfully.

The "Allegretto feroce (Lively and fierce)" marked Finale [T-4] starts forcefully [00:00] and has a commanding idea (CI) [00:05]. Then after a brief pause there's a violin-introduced, CI-reminiscent, skittering, fugato thematic nexus (CF) [00:41] with a catchy melody (CM) [02:27]. By the way, CM is reminiscent of the tune for the Dies-Irae, which has been a favorite with other Russian composers, particularly Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943).

Subsequently, CF gives way to a pleading theme (PT) [04:29] succeeded by a scampering version of CI [05:22], which triggers a busy, boisterous development of the foregoing material. After that PT [09:09] invokes a captivating recap with a big-tune version of CM [11:21] as well as bits of CI [12:01]. But all this comes to a deceptive close with a brief pause. Then a chime-introduced, frenetic, CI-CF-CM-PT-derived episode [12:27] with a drum-roll-introduced, fortissimo, three-chord cadence [13:40] ends the symphony conclusively.

This release is filled out with de Hartmann's three-movement Fantasie-Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra (Op. 65; 1942-44). Apparently, he had fellow Russians, Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857) and Serge Koussevitsky (1874-1951) in mind when he wrote it (see the album booklet). Moreover, that instrument had past associations with the former's opera Ruslan and Lyudmila (1837-42), while the latter was not only a great conductor, but also an accomplished double-bass (D-B) player.

The initial "Allegro con brio (Lively with spirit)" [T-5] opens with an animated motif (AM) for the orchestra [00:00], which paraphrases the beginning of that previously mentioned opera's overture. Subsequently, the soloist enters playing an AM-derived, songlike melody (AS) [00:21], which becomes the subject of a brief discourse with the tutti [00:36]. Then all engage in an AS-related, antsy episode [01:20] that adjoins AS-based, rhapsodic passages [02:31].

They're followed by a tiny, D-B cadenza [03:45], after which there's an AM-tinted bridge [04:03] into a frenetic fugato [04:24]. This makes an AM-based, capricious transition [05:29] into a rhapsodic version of AS [05:40] that gives way to agitated, D-B-dominated passages [06:31], soon followed by subdued orchestral ones [07:01].

These flow attacca into the next movement, which is titled "Romance 1830" and marked "Adagio (Slow)" [T-6]. This is a reworking of an eponymous piece for voice and piano (Op. 55; 1936) that was a setting of a 1916 poem called "Remembrance" by Russian bard Vasily Zhukovsky (1783-1852).

The music here is of a nostalgic, somewhat wistful countenance, and opens quietly with a harp-dominated, subdued orchestral tidbit [00:00] where the D-B soon appears [00:04]. Then they intone somber, cantabile passages. These have an oneiric moment [02:37-03:03], after which the soloist returns [03:04] bringing things to a hymnlike, tranquil conclusion.

Four tambourine taps [00:00] begin the "Allegro commodo (Comfortably fast)" marked "Finale" [T-7]. They're immediately followed by the soloist playing a jolly folkdance-like ditty (J1) [00:05]. This is incrementally explored by some of the winds [00:15, 00:27 & 00:39] and then the full orchestra [00:48], thereby calling up a J1-related countermelody [01:07].

Subsequently, there's a development of the foregoing [01:28], succeeded by a remembrance of J1 [02:46] and some virtuosic passages for the soloist [03:14]. These escalate into a "vivace (spirited)" version of J1 [03:36], after which four fortissimo D-B chords [03:51] plus three orchestral, cadential ones [03:54] conclude the concerto and CD commandingly.

As on that earlier Toccata release (see 30 September 2022) the Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine (LNPOU) under its "Conductor Laureate", American-born Theodore Kuchar (b. 1963) again gives us committed performances of two more de Hartmann orchestral works. This time around British, D-B virtuoso Leon Bosch (b. 1961) gets a big hand for his magnificent playing in the Fantasie... [T-5, 6 & 7].

The recordings were done on 15, 21, 23 and 30 September 2021 at the National Philharmonic Hall located in Lviv, Ukraine, some 300 miles west of Kyiv (also spelled Kiev). They project a generous sonic image in pleasant surroundings with Mr. Bosch placed center stage and well balanced against the LNPOU. His instrument is realistically captured, and the overall orchestral timbre in both works is characterized by pleasant highs, a rich midrange and lean, clean bass. Taking everything into consideration, this release is about as good as conventional CDs get.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, Y230530)

Amazon Records International

The album cover may not always appear.
Santoro, Claudio: Sym 11, Sym 12, Concerto Grosso, Three Fragments on BACH; Thomson/Goiás PO [Naxos]
With this recent release, Naxos in conjunction with Brazil's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRE) continues its invaluable exploration of composer Claudio Santoro's (born Cláudio Franco de Sá Santoro; 1919-1989) orchestral music (see 31 May 2022). He left a large oeuvre across all genres, and here we get two more of his 14 symphonies (1940-89) plus a couple of other orchestral selections. Currently, they're the only readily available versions on disc. Incidentally, this time around both symphonies are in three instead of four movements.

The concert opens with his "Concerto Grosso" of 1980 scored for string quartet and string orchestra. The opening "Andante" [T-1] begins with a tone-row-like idea (TR) for all [00:02]. TR is then explored by members of the quartet over a subdued orchestral accompaniment [00:44], and undergoes several variational treatments involving everyone.

These range from antsy [01:19] to commanding [03:10], contemplative [04:11] and assured [05:23]. Subsequently, there are subdued wisps of TR from the quartet [06:25] over a hushed, orchestral accompaniment [06:25]. Then this simply fades away, thereby ending the movement uneventfully.

The foregoing sets the mood for the somber, "Lento molto (Very slow)" following one [T-2]. It has outer sections [00:00 & 02:26] based on a sorrowful theme heard at the outset. They surround some agitated passages [01:45-02:26] and bring things full circle.

Then it's on to an "Allegro vivo (Fast and lively)" marked Finale [T-3] that starts with a chugging, vituperative number for all (CV) [00:00]. This wanes into a pizzicato-laced section [01:08] having shimmering strings [01:57], which bridge into a cheeky episode with an ornery quartet [02:08]. The latter adjoins a curt, crazed coda [02:46] that ends the work abruptly.

Turning to Santoro's Symphony No. 11 (1984), the first movement [T-4] has an oboe-initiated "Andante" introduction [00:00]. It's soon joined by the other winds [00:36], brass [01:00], and strings [01:06], all of which go on to create an eerie, thematic nexus (EN).

Then EN is briefly explored [02:00], thereby calling up [03:36] the following, "Allegro (Fast)" portion of the movement. The latter is an EN-based, developmental discourse with some commentary from a solo violin [04:52, 05:46 & 06:51]. This ends the movement in much the same spirit as it started.

An "Allegro (Fast)" scherzo is next [T-5]. This is a mischievous, ternary, A-B-A-structured offering, where antsy, percussively-laced "A"s [00:00 & 01:44] lie on either side of a more subdued "B" [01:13-01:43]. Incidentally, "B" has a melodic fragment first heard on the oboe [01:13] that's reminiscent of the tune for the Dies-Irae. Then the last "A" closes things abruptly.

The final movement [T-6] contrasts elements of the preceding two. Its "Lento (Slow)" preface [00:00] recalls more austere moments found in the first. Then the "Allegro vivo (Fast and lively)" remainder of it [beginning at 03:47] conjures up memories of the less threatening ones found in the second.

At this point we might note that one of Santoro's favorite composers was Johannes Brahms (1833-1897). Consequently, there are fortissimo passages [04:58] bearing a close resemblance to the opening of that great German composer's Symphony No. 1 in C minor (Op. 68; 1854-76). However, these wane completely away, thereby ending the work with a feeling of oblivion.

The more, melancholy moments in the previous piece set the tone for the next selection, Claudio's "Three Fragments on BACH (Três Fragments sobre BACH)". This was written during 1985 in response to a commission and ostensibly celebrates the 300th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach's (1685-1750) birth.

As the title suggests it's based on a B-A-C-H motif (BM), which back in Germany equated to B♭-A-C-B♮, and was the way Bach got his musical signature into works. That said, the first "Fragment" [T-7] has a wistful, "Adagio (Slow)" preface that begins with BM [00:00-00:29]. But it's soon followed by a BM-based, "Allegro moderato (Moderately fast)" spirited fugue [02:08] that closes this section with a forceful reminder of BM [03:47].

Then it's on to a "lento (Slow)", BM-infected dirge [T-8]. However, things pick up with the next "Allegro vivo, ma non troppo (Fast and lively, but not too fast)" fragment [T-9]. This is scherzo-like and has skittering sections [00:00 & 01:53] on either side of a subdued moment [01:33-01:52]. More specifically, the outer ones have BM-based exclamations [01:04-01:32 & 02:13-02:43] and end things with an inverted-BM, fortissimo coda [02:44].

When he wrote the concluding Symphony No. 12 (1987, revised 1988-89), the composer exploited several of his previous works featuring solo instruments (see the album notes and Naxos-8.574407). That said, the ones highlighted here are the violin, cello, flute, clarinet, viola, oboe, horn and trombone.

The opening, anguished "Andante" [T-10] begins with a distraught thematic grouping (DG) [00:00] featuring the violin and cello. Then DG is the subject of a distraught developmental section [04:15], where the flute and clarinet hold forth. This waxes and wanes into a heartfelt recapitulative episode [07:52] having a clarinet cadenza [08:38-08:52] and viola dominated reminders of DG [09:15]. Then the latter gradually bridge into a viola-drumroll-invoked coda [12:35], which closes the movement precipitously.

An "Allegro (Fast)", trumpet-dominated, scherzo-like one is next [T-11]. It conjures up martial thoughts and begins with a scurrying episode [00:00] that bridges into a march-like number [01:57], which comes to a gunshot finish.

This sets the tone for the final movement's [T-12] frisky, "Allegro (Fast)", oboe-replete preface [00:00]. However, the music soon becomes "Moderato (Moderately fast)" as the strings [00:18] invoke a yearning tune (YT) from the oboe [00:26]. It then conducts a lyrical exploration of YT [00:54] with cadenza-like moments [02:16-02:55].

These adjoins a horn-dominated, lengthy examination of YT [02:56], where a trombone takes over [07:04]. Then the music becomes quite agitated, thereby bringing the work and this disc to a sudden conclusion.

As before (see 31 May 2022), the Goiás Philharmonic Orchestra (GPO) under their Principal Conductor and Artistic Director Neil Thomson (b. 1966) gives us superb accounts of all four selections, again making a strong case for their fellow countryman's music. Also, a big hand goes to the principal soloists in the first and last pieces (see the album booklet for their names). Hopefully more of Santoro's 14 symphonies will soon be forthcoming from Naxos and the MRE.

All four recordings took place in the GPO's hometown of Goiânia, some 100 miles southwest of Brasília. More specifically, the "Concerto Grosso" [T1 thru 3] and "Three Fragments on BACH" [T-7 thru 9] were done 27 November to 2 December 2019 at the Oscar Niemeyer Centro Cultural, while the two Symphonies [T-4 thru 6 & T-10 thru 12] took place 25-30 April 2022 in the Teatro Escola Basileu França. Despite the different times and locations, they project consistently generous sonic images in enriching venues.

The many solo instruments are well captured as well as balanced, while the overall orchestral timbre has pleasant highs, good mids and clean lows. That said, there is what sounds like a momentary breakup in the earlier Symphony's first movement [T-4, 04:12-4:13]. However, taking everything else into consideration, this release earns an "Audiophile" stripe.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, Y230529)

Amazon Records International

The album cover may not always appear.
Wranitzky, Paul: Sym in G (Op. 50), Sym in D (Op. 37), Sym in A (Op. 51); Gupta/NDRP [CPO]
The ongoing CLOFO revival of Czech composer Paul Wranitzky's (1756-1808) music (see 30 September 2022) continues here. He left a large oeuvre across all genres, and we're treated to three of Paul's some 47 symphonies on this CPO release. Incidentally, they're the only readily available versions of them on disc.

These are each four-movement works, and those liking the ones of Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) will find them very appealing. By the way, Paul was a good friend and strong supporter of Papa Haydn.

The concert opens with Wranitzky's Symphony in G major (Op. 50; published 1804). Its sonata-form first movement [T-1] has an exposition with a "Poco Adagio (Somewhat slow)", stately introduction [00:03] hinting at what's soon to come. However, the music suddenly turns "Allegro molto (Very fast)" with a skittering first idea (S1) [01:06] followed by a somewhat more lyrical second (L2) [01:36].

These are explored, respectively repeated [02:41 & 03:11], and both fuel a fiery development [04:16]. Then S1 introduces a recapitulation [05:13] with an S1-L2-derived coda [06:26] that ends things vivaciously.

The ternary, A-B-A-structured "Andante" [T-2] is based on an S1-tinged, innocent theme (SI) [00:00]. The "A"s [00:00 & 04:04] bracket a "B" [02:06-04:03], featuring a generally more forceful treatment of SI. Then the last "A" adjoins an SI-based coda [05:51], which has some interim, martial moments [06:01-06:27], but closes the movement tranquilly.

A minuet-like one is next [T-3] with jolly outer sections respectively marked "Allegretto vivace (Lively and spirited)" [00:00] and "allegretto (Lively)" [03:40]. Based on a jolly, robust ditty heard at the outset, they lie on either side of a rather songful, "Alternativo (Trio)", featuring an oboe [01:35-03:39].

The "Allegro vivace (Fast and spirited)" marked Finale [T-4] is another sonata-form offering. It has a capricious opening idea (C1) [00:00] followed by a playful second (P2) [00:41]. Subsequently the foregoing material is repeated [01:42] and explored [02:20], thereby initiating an engaging development [03:05]. Then C1 invokes a thrilling recapitulation [04:38], which builds [beginning at 06:14] into a mighty, C1-P2-based coda [06:38] that ends the work with a fortissimo, two-chord, "So there!" cadence [06:56].

We next get the Symphony in D major (Op. 37; published 1799). According to the composer this was written to celebrate the wedding of Count Nikolaus Esterházy de Galántha (1775-1856) and Marie Françoise de Roisin de Baudry (1776-1845), which took place in 1799.

The sonata-form, first movement [T-5] has an exposition with a "Larghetto (Rather slow)", contemplative introduction [00:01] with a fidgety midrif [00:28-01:02], all of which portends what's to come. Then the music suddenly turns "Allegro molto (Very fast)" with a running first idea (R1) [01:28] followed by a somewhat more tuneful second (T2) [02:01].

These are explored, respectively repeated [03:03 & 03:35], and both undergo a captivating development [04:32]. Then R1 introduces a vibrant recapitulation [05:39] with an R1-T2-derived coda [07:19] that ends things festively.

The ternary, A-B-A-structured "Andante" [T-6] is serenade-like and based on an opening, T-2-tinged, songful theme (TS) [00:00]. TS has brief "Flutish" runs [beginning at 00:27] meant to recall Papageno in Mozart's (1756-1791) opera The Magic Flute (K. 620; 1791), which both the bride and groom apparently loved.

This movement's "A"s [00:00 & 04:02] bracket a "B" [02:24-04:01] featuring a generally more forceful treatment of TS. Then the last "A" adjoins a TS-derived coda [05:22] with a Papageno-like flourish [06:03] that ends it definitively.

A savory "Minuetto (Minuet)" is next [T-7]. It has spirited outer sections respectively marked "Presto (Very fast)" [00:00] and "Menuetto dacapo (Minuet from the beginning)" [02:42]. These are based on an energetic ditty heard at the outset and lie on either side of a cocky "Trio" [01:24-02:41].

The "Allegro (Fast)" Finale [T-8] is a sonata-rondo, having a lively, recurring refrain (LR) heard at the outset [00:00]. LR is immediately repeated [00:13], explored [00:26], and followed by a related countermelody [01:15].

Then there's a pause [01:44], after which LR again surfaces [01:46], and is succeeded by a somewhat martial, two-part development [02:11 & 02:28]. This is cause for another brief break [03:06], which gives way to a vibrant recapitulation [03:08]. The latter has an ecstatic coda [03:49] that ends the work presumably with implications of marital bliss.

The subsequent Symphony in A major (Op. 51; published 1804) could be considered a sibling of Op. 50 above. Its sonata-form, first movement [T-9] has an exposition with a stately, "Adagio (Slow)" introduction [00:02] hinting at what's to come. Then the music turns "Allegro molto vivace (Lively and very vivacious)" [00:31] with a jumpy first thematic nexus (J1), followed by a somewhat more reserved second (R2) [01:25].

These are explored, respectively repeated [02:39 & 03:32], and both undergo a commanding, contrapuntally-spiced development [04:47]. Then J1 initiates a recapitulation [06:39] with a J1-R2-derived coda [08:31] that ends things in rousing fashion.

The ternary, A-B-A-structured "Andante" [T-10] is based on a mischievous theme (MT) [00:01], which is akin to some of those in Papa Haydn's late symphonies. Here the "A"s [00:01 & 04:32] bracket a "B" [02:55-04:31], which has a generally more forceful treatment of MT. Then the last "A" adjoins an MT-derived coda [05:54] that closes the movement peacefully.

A minuet-like one is next [T-11]. It has audacious outer sections respectively marked "Allegretto (Lively)" [00:00] and "Allegretto da capo (Lively like the beginning)" [03:50]. They feature a perky number heard at the outset and lie on either side of a winsome, variational "Alternativo (Trio)" [01:47-03:49].

The "Allegro vivace assai (Very fast and spirited)" Finale [T-12] is a sonata-rondo having a vivacious, recurring refrain (VR) heard at its outset [00:00]. VR is immediately repeated [00:06], explored, and followed by a related countermelody (VC) [00:52] that's examined. Then VR resurfaces [01:59] initiating a development [02:11], after which it triggers a thrilling recapitulation [03:02]. This has a VR-VC-sired coda [03:31] that ends the Symphony and disc triumphantly.

A coproduction of CPO and Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), this release features the NDR Radiophilharmonie (NDRP) based in Hanover, some 150 miles west of Berlin. Under Norwegian-conductor-composer Rolf Gupta (b. 1967), the NDRP gives us superb renditions of all three selections, making a strong case for the ongoing revival of Wranitzky's many symphonies (see 31 October 2021). Hopefully, even more of them will be forthcoming.

These recordings took place 16-20 June 2014 (Op. 37 & 51) and 23-25 February 2016 (Op. 51) at NDR's Large Broadcasting Hall (Große Sendesaal) in Hanover (German; Hannover). Despite the different dates, they present a consistently, broad sonic image in spacious surroundings. The orchestral timbre is characterized by pleasant highs, a good midrange and clean bass. That said, the overall sound is about as good as it gets on conventional discs.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, Y230528)

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