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CHAN 10203
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CHAN 10203

Myslivecek: Symphonies

The Classical Shop
release date: May 2004

Originally recorded in 2003


London Mozart Players

Matthias Bamert


All Saints' Church, Tooting, London


Rachel Smith


Jonathan Cooper

Michael Common


Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 60:05
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  premiere recordings  

Symphony in C major, F 26

  in C-Dur - en ut majeur  
1 I Allegro con spirito 4:14
2 II Andante 2:59
3 III Presto 2:03

Symphony in A major, F 27

  in A-Dur - en la majeur  
4 I Allegro con brio 3:47
5 I Andante 3:00
6 III Allegro 2:07

Symphony in F major, F 28

7 I Allegro 5:11
8 II Andante 3:14
9 III Presto 2:25

Symphony in D major, F 29

  in D-Dur - en ré majeur  
10 I Allegro assai 4:14
11 II Andante grazioso 2:56
12 III Prestissimo 2:54

Symphony in B flat major, F 30

  in B-Dur - en si bémol majeur  
13 I Allegro con spirito 4:00
14 II Andante 3:25
15 III Presto 2:44

Symphony in G major, F31

  in G-Dur - en sol majeur  
16 I Allegro con brio 5:11
17 II Andante 3:04
18 III Presto assai 2:37
This latest release in Chandos’ Contemporaries of Mozart series features music by Josef Myslivecek.

None of these elegant and beautifully orchestrated symphonies has been recorded before; indeed, none of them has been performed since the eighteenth century. The performing editions were specially prepared from the original 1772 edition for the purposes of this recording.

Myslivecek’s name and music are familiar to music lovers in the Czech republic. However, the preservation of these symphonies in England (they were crafted with an English audience in mind) has meant that no Czech scholars or musicians have had access to them.

Chandos’ unique Contemporaries of Mozart series has been much praised for its high standards of musicianship and recording, as well as for making available a wealth of undeservedly neglected music. Several discs in the series have been selected as ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Gramophone.

Josef Myslivecek dropped out of university at the age of sixteen, and along with his twin brother became an apprentice to the family millers’ business. In 1758 both became journeymen, and in 1761, master millers. It was soon after this that Myslivecek decided to devote himself to music. He studied organ and composition and in 1763 left Prague for Venice where he studied operatic composition. He immediately became known as ‘Il Boemo’ (The Bohemian) because his name was impossible for the Italians to pronounce. Myslivecek’s first opera was staged in 1766 and a further opera was produced a year later for the birthday of the King of Naples, but despite this early success and the enormity of his output (which included concertos, a quantity of chamber music, some forty-five symphonies, oratorios and nearly thirty operas), Myslivecek died in abject poverty, in Rome, at the age of fifty-four.

Josef Myslivecek’s output of orchestral music offers some of the finest examples of a gracious eighteenth-century Italian symphonic style that is little heard today except for occasional performances of Sammartini, Boccherini and J.C. Bach, and a group of Italianate symphonies by W.A. Mozart. Myslivecek was the most talented symphonist resident in Italy at the time of Mozart’s visits in the early 1770s and he provided Mozart with many important stylistic models. In fact, Myslivecek was on friendly terms with both Leopold and Wolfgang Mozart for many years but the relationship soured in 1778 when Myslivecek failed to secure a promised operatic commission for Wolfgang.

Myslivecek’s symphonies contain a wealth of impressive orchestral techniques as well as exquisite slow movements. It is arguably possible to discern in his music some traces of a dynamic personality whose outstanding qualities were described by Mozart as ‘fire, spirit and life’.

Its refreshing these days to hear music of this kind played by a modern-instrument orchestra, Matthias Bamert and the London Mozart Players do it proud. Chandos recording is exemplary.
BBC Music Magazine

'Bamert leads stunning perfomances' The recording is beatifully balanced and sounds very natural. Good notes round out this major issue.'
American Record Guide

They are all played with a suitably light sense of enjoyment and given a nice, fresh recording.

Since Myslivecek is sadly under-recorded, this release will prove doubly welcome.
International Record Review

Admired and imitated by the teenage Mozart, they are by no means negligible. Try the graceful andante of the B flat symphony and the vigorous and far from predictable allegro of the G major. These performances are crisp and affectionate, and the recording is exemplary.
Sunday Times

'Matthias Bamert and the LMP have dusted off some treats in their 'Contemporaries of Mozart' series for Chandos. This latest release, featuring premiere recordings of six symphonies by the Bohemian-born Josef Myslivecek, is one of the best. None of these works, dating back to the 1770s is much more than 10 minutes long, yet each is delightfully imaginative, and benefitting from the LMP's sprightly playing.'
The Independent

'Bamert and the LMP are eloquent advocates of this likeable, undemanding music, bringing plenty of sparkle and swagger to the fast movements and nicely catching the rococo tenderness of the andantes.'
The Telegraph

'Since Myslivecek is sadly under-recorded, this release will prove doubly welcome.'
International Record Review

R Lovely

M Ward