Questions or technical issues? Please email info@chicagochambermusic.org


CCM WebSite

EncoreCCM

Name of Work

Krommer, Franz (1759-1831)
Wind Partitan No. 3 in B-flat, Op. 45

Movements:
Allegro
Adagio
Minuet and Trio
Rondo

Performances:


Feb 14, 2010



Scott Hostetler, Oboe
Anne Bach, Oboe
Larry Combs, Clarinet
Julie DeRoche, Clarinet
Dennis Michel, Bassoon
Lewis Kirk, Bassoon
Charles Geyer, Trumpet
Gail Williams, Horn
Gabrielle Webster, Horn
Peter Lloyd, Double bass


Feb 15, 2010



Scott Hostetler, Oboe
Anne Bach, Oboe
Larry Combs, Clarinet
Julie DeRoche, Clarinet
Dennis Michel, Bassoon
Lewis Kirk, Bassoon
Charles Geyer, Trumpet
Gail Williams, Horn
Gabrielle Webster, Horn
Peter Lloyd, Double bass

KROMMER - Wind Partita in B-Flat, Op 45 #2

Composed in 1794

Of the great Classical-Romantic "Viennese" composers, only Franz Schubert was actually born in the Central European imperial and musical capital. Haydn and Mozart came from smaller Austrian towns, Beethoven from the German city of Bonn, Brahms from Hamburg. There were other notable arrivals: around the turn of the 19th century, many successful composer-performers migrated to Vienna from what is now the Czech Republic, then a province of the Austrian Empre called Bohemia. Their names -- Leopold Kozeluch, Anton Reicha, Johann Vanhal, Jan Vorisek -- are not terribly well remembered today, but they held important posts in their adopted city, made a good living, served their patrons well, and left behind a wealth of music that is worth hearing. One of these Bohemian emigres was Franz Krommer: Frantisek Kramar in the original spelling.

Krommer's father was an innkeeper and the mayor of the town of Kamenice. A musical uncle taught him to play the violin and the organ. In his early 20s he went to Vienna for the first time, but finding it hard to compete on its large musical stage, he moved to Hungary, where he was employed by princes and churches as a violinist, composer, and choir director. Back in Vienna in 1795 as a season professional, he undertook some theater work before entering the emperor's service in 1815. Three years later he won the coveted post of imperial court composer: the job neither Mozart nor Beethoven ever achieved. The successor to Kozeluch and, before him, Antonio Salieri, Krommer was the last to hold the official court-composer position. By the time of his death, musical economics had changed such that even emperors stopped employing composers as personal staff members.

A biographical essay by Othmar Wessely notes that "Krommer's reputation is attested by the rapid spread of his compositions in reprints and arrangements by German, Danish, French, English, Italian and American publishers....With the exception of piano works, lieder and operas, [he] cultivated all the musical genres of his time, and was regarded (with Haydn) as the leading composer of string quartets, and as a serious rival of Beethoven. The present view, however, places his solo concertos for wind instruments as his most individual accomplishments."

Wind instruments were also important in other departments of the Krommer catalogue; like virtually every other Viennese composer of his time, he wrote prodigiously for the small Harmonie ensembles consisting usually of oboes, clarinets, bassoons, and horns in pairs. The three Partitas he published as Op 45 add to this configuration a contrabassoon, for added sonority in the bass lines, and a trumpet for brilliance.

Fans of Baroque music understand the word Partita as a synonym for Suite: a set of movements in dance rhythms, like those Bach wrote for harpsichord and for violin. By the late 18th century the word had become applicable to any multi-movement instrumental works: Haydn used Partita (in varied spellings) as part of the title for some wind compositions. Krommer's three partitas are structured in the four-movement pattern of the standard 18th-century symphony, and can be heard as symphonies on a smaller scale.

The B-Flat partita's opening sonata-form Allegro has a brief introductory passage before the ensemble presents the first main theme, then a second theme spotlighting the clarinets and bassoons. The themes are briefly developed through quite a variety of key changes, then straightforwardly recapitulated, with the second theme given this time to the clarinets and oboes. The allegretto Romance, the closest the work comes to a "slow" movement, is a theme with four variations and coda, all in the key of B-Flat. The Minuet and its repeat, energetically rhythmic, frame a contrasting Trio section with lighter scoring and more relaxed mood. The finale is a fast-paced Rondo, the main theme alternating with short contrasting episodes, highlighted by some virtuosic horn solos.

Program Notes by Andrea Lamoreaux

Performed February 14 & 15, 2010



Performance Audio

Play Entire Performance


Play Entire Performance