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CHAN 9823
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CHAN 9823
Contemporaries of Mozart Series

Wesley: Symphonies

The Classical Shop
release date: May 2000

Recorded in 24 Bit / 44.1Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 1999


London Mozart Players

Matthias Bamert


St Silas The Martyr, Kentish Town, London


Ralph Couzens


Peter Newble

Richard Smoker


Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 70:15
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Contemporaries of Mozart Series

Contemporaries of Mozart Series


Select Complete Single Disc for

Symphony in D major 'Sinfonia obligato' (1781)

  in D-Dur - ré majeur  
1 I Allegro maestoso 5:21
2 II Andante con moto 3:02
3 III Allegro molto 2:41

Symphony in A major ('1784 or after')

  in A-Dur - la majeur  
4 I Andante 6:50
5 II Andantino 4:16
6 III Brillante 3:30

Symphony in D major (1784)

  in D-Dur - ré majeur  
7 I Allegro spiritoso 4:51
8 II Andantino 2:59
9 III Allegro molto 5:21

Symphony in E flat major (1784)

  in Es-Dur - mi bémol majeur  
10 I Allegro 4:59
11 II Andante 2:42
12 III Allegretto - Presto - Tempo di primo 5:24

Symphony in B flat major (1802)

  in B-Dur - si bémol majeur  
13 I Allegro 6:00
14 II Andante 4:34
15 III Minuetto e Trio 3:51
16 IV Vivace molto 3:54
The London Mozart Players, under the expert guidance of Matthias Bamert, perform five symphonies from English composer Samuel Wesley.

This disc includes the premier recording of the Symphony in D major ‘Sinfonia obligato’ (1781). There is little competition for the other four .symphonies.

This disc includes all of Wesley’s surviving symphonies (only two violin parts remain of his very first symphony), and as such presents an interesting survey of the development of his symphonic style.

This is the thirteenth disc in the revealing Contemporaries of Mozart series. The series has proved extremely successful and has uncovered a wealth of previously unrecorded eighteenth-century works.

Wesley’s instrumental compositions include a large body of music for organ and for piano, chamber music and works for orchestra, including a dozen concertos (for violin, harpsichord and organ), several overtures and six symphonies.

The earliest of the symphonies is dated 27 February 1781 and is described, ungrammatically, as ‘Sinfonia obligato’, for violin, cello and organ, with an orchestra of strings and two horns, with ad libitum timpani. The unusual, if not unique, (obbligato) group is used only in the outer movements but the technical demands on the three players, especially the violinist and cellist, are considerable.

The next three symphonies, chronologically, are all modestly scored for strings (with a discreet harpsichord continuo) and two horns. The Symphony in A major (1784 or after) begins with an extraordinary movement that vacillates between a gentle Andante that could belong to Mozart and a contrapuntal Allegro that could belong to Bach. The Symphony in D major (1784) has a lively and unusual first movement notable for its bold unisons and octaves separated by lyrical episodes of almost chamber-like delicacy. The Symphony in E flat major dated 25 April 1784 begins with a sonata-form Allegro that is exceptional, in Wesley’s symphonies, in its varied thematic material.

Wesley’s last symphony, in B flat major, is dated 27 April 1802 and is scored for strings and pairs of flutes, oboes, bassoons, horns and timpani. Its outer movements share the monothematic tendencies of the later Haydn, many of whose last dozen symphonies Wesley must have heard during Haydn’s sensational visits to London in 1791-2 and 1794-5. The crowning glory of this extraordinary work is a dynamic finale in Wesley’s unorthodox, monothematic brand of sonata form, full of counterpoint and arresting modulations.

‘…one of the most revelatory discographic projects currently underway… Top-flight performances and demonstration sonics – another major landmark in Bamert’s ongoing series.’
BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 9703 (Kozeluch)

‘For those who are willing to venture off well-worn orchestral paths, this is an outstanding choice’.
American Record Guide

‘The performances brim with joie de vivre, and are further commended by the London Mozart Player’s focussed, accurate and committed readings’.

‘The performances are wonderfully idiomatic… the sound is full-bodied and vivid… This disc deserves every success.’
Fanfare on CHAN 9740 (Pichl)

‘Performances of abundant fair and refinement, in superbly detailed sound.’
Classic CD on CHAN 9607 (Vanhal)

R Payne