Funny how things work. Johann Sebastian Bach was organist at St. Thomaskirk, Leipzig. A prolific composer, his music is known throughout the world. Friedrich Schneider held the same post in 1812. A prolific composer, his music is virtually unknown.

Schneider’s catalog includes four operas, 25 cantatas, seven piano concertos, and 23 symphonies. And yet just six years after his death in 1853, a critic wrote, “How few of his one-hundred printed works are nowadays appreciated as they deserve?”

Perhaps this new release from CPO will help change that. It features world premiere recordings of Schneider’s Symphony No. 16 plus three concert overtures.

The Anhaltische Philharmonie Dessau conducted by Markus L. Frank is in fine form. Schneider’s overtures seem to blend Beethoven’s thematic content with Rossini’s exuberance. The ensemble performs them with energy and elan.

Schneider’s Symphony No. 16 in A major was completed in 1818. It received several performances, including at least two at the Leipzig Gewandhaus (in 1822 and 1840). The latter performance was conducted by Felix Mendelssohn.

Although Schneider’s motivic development is in line with Beethoven, the overall structure and texture seem to owe more to Haydn. The symphony has a lightness to it I found quite appealing (as did Mendelssohn’s audience).

This is the second CPO release of Friedrich Schneider’s music. I’m hoping it won’t be the last.

Friedrich Schneider: Symphony No. 16; Overtures
Anhaltische Philharmonie Dessau; Markus L. Frank, conductor
CPO 555 180