Sunday, June 4, 2017

George Onslow - Symphonies Nos. 2 & 4 (Johannes Goritzki)


Composer: George Onslow
  1. Symphonie No. 2 in D minor, Op. 42: I. Allegro vivace ed energico
  2. Symphonie No. 2 in D minor, Op. 42: II. Andante grazioso con moto
  3. Symphonie No. 2 in D minor, Op. 42: III. Menuetto. Allegro
  4. Symphonie No. 2 in D minor, Op. 42: IV. Finale. Presto agitato
  5. Symphonie No. 4 in G major, Op. 71: I. Introduzione. Largo - Allegro spirituoso
  6. Symphonie No. 4 in G major, Op. 71: II. Scherzo. Presto
  7. Symphonie No. 4 in G major, Op. 71: III. Andantino molto cantabile
  8. Symphonie No. 4 in G major, Op. 71: IV. Le Coup De Vent (Souvenir du Rhin). Allegro animato

NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Johannes Goritzki, conductor
Date: 2002
Label: cpo




The symphonies of Georges Onslow (1784-1853), rather than following the path blazed by countryman Hector Berlioz, instead adopt the German romantic style epitomized by Schumann and Mendelssohn. For example, the high-spirited Symphony No. 2, a smart and finely crafted work continuously self-propelled by busy string writing, presents a very Schumannesque profile (explicitly so in the scherzo), while the orchestration, with its bucolic woodwind writing, owes much to Mendelssohn. Symphony No. 4 immediately announces its weightier countenance with a powerfully portentous introduction reminiscent of Schubert. Onslow enlivens both the first movement and finale with skillful pacing and an unerring sense of dramatic timing, but it’s the spiritually elevated adagio–the emotional center of the work–that remains most in the memory.

Johannes Goritzki’s vibrant, enlivened conducting, and the Hanover Radio Philharmonic’s enthusiastic playing certainly make a strong case for reviving this music, which lost its hold on concert programs in the wake of Beethoven’s and Schubert’s posthumous popularity. CPO’s full-bodied, well balanced, and dynamically true recording impressively replicates the performers’ joy of discovery. All devotees of late classicism/early romanticism should hear this disc.

-- Victor Carr JrClassicsToday

More reviews:
BBC Music Magazine  PERFORMANCE: ***** / SOUND: ****


George Onslow (27 July 1784 – 3 October 1853) was a French composer of English descent. His wealth, position and personal tastes allowed him to pursue a path unfamiliar to most of his French contemporaries, more similar to that of his contemporary German romantic composers; his music also had a strong following in Germany and in England. His principal output was chamber music but he also wrote four symphonies and four operas. Esteemed by many of the critics of his time, his reputation declined swiftly after his death and has only been revived in recent years.


Johannes Goritzki was born in Tübingen, Germany. and studied cello with such musical legends as Gaspar Cassadò, André Navarra and Pablo Casals. He has released over 40 CDs. One highlight in his discography is Othmar Schoeck’s cello concerto, which was awarded with the "Grand Prix du Disque – Discobole de L’Europe". He  Goritzki has also enjoyed an extensive career as a conductor. From 1980 to 2003 Johannes Goritzki was principal conductor of the "Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss am Rhein". As a soloist and conductor with this orchestra he performed and toured internationally.


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