This is the second volume of Krommer symphonies from Griffiths and the Orchestra della Svizzera italiana. The first volume covered Krommer’s first three symphonies.
This release features three symphonies; only two of which were published.
Franz Krommer was based in Vienna, a younger contemporary of Ludwig van Beethoven. Krommer’s 1819 Symphony No. 4 in C minor seems an attempt to meet the standards set by Beethoven. And in some ways, he succeeds.
The symphony is full of energy that threatens to break loose at any moment. Krommer marks sections with big orchestral gestures and dramatic contrasts. All in all, it’s a well-crafted work.
The 1821 Symphony No. 5 in E-flat major also shows some Beethoven influence. It has some similarities to the “Eroica” symphony — especially in the opening movement. But it’s more festive and upbeat work. So add a dash of Haydn to the mix.
Krommer’s Symphony No. 7 in G minor was never published. Only the first movement was given a reading during Krommer’s lifetime. This 1824 work is the most ambitious of the three.
Krommer more fully explores the possibilities of motivic development. The final movement has a wonderful fugal section that leads to a rousing and satisfying finish.
Under Howard Griffiths, the Orchestra della Svizzera italiana delivers some high-energy performances. Even if you missed the first volume, this release is worth a listen. Franz Krommer may have worked in Beethoven’s shadow, but he had something original to say in each of his symphonies.
Franz Krommer: Symphonies Nos. 4, 5, and 7
Orchestra della Svizzera italiana; Howard Griffiths, conductor