Released in December 2006, this is NAXOS 5th Dittersdorf disc in their 18th Century Classics series. Focused on symphony and concerto of the time, the aim of the series is the rediscovery of music by Haydn's less known and sometimes forgotten contemporaries: Beck, Dussek, Kraus, Hofmann and Vanhal. Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf is far from forgotten, but perhaps still under-appreciated. In 1772 Carl Ditters was granted a certificate of nobility by the Empress Maria Therese and adopted the surname von Dittersdorf. (a.k.a. Baron von Dittersdorf).
Dittersdorf was widely regarded as the finest violinist in Vienna in the 1760's, and during the decade that Mozart worked in Vienna (1781-1791), played chamber music with Mozart (who much admired Dittersdorf). Mozart was just over 16 years Ditters junior, and Mozart much preferred playing the viola with friends you may recall. Haydn also played with Dittersdorf.
Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf was prolific throughout his life in all genre's: opera, oratorio, chamber music, cantata, sacred music, including some 40 concertos and 120 symphonies!
This excerpt from the liner notes by Allan Badley, most aptly describes the Sinfonia on this CD, musically:
"The three works featured on this recording present an interesting cross-section of Dittersdorf's symphonies. The two late works, the Symphonies in D (1788) and E flat (ca 1782), are written for the expanded orchestral forces which become increasingly common in Dittersdorf's mature symphonies. The earlier of the two works is roughly contemporaneous with the 'Ovid' Symphonies and displays a similar degree of subtlety in its compositional detail. Dittersdorf's marvelous sense of orchestral color is evident throughout the work not just in terms of his cleverly varied textures but also in the way in which he combines his instruments: in the trio, for example, a solo violin is doubled an octave lower by the flute, creating a distinctive and highly original sound. The finale also reveals Dittersdorf's ingenuity as a composer with its striking combination of strict counterpoint (the movement opens in double counterpoint) and modern orchestral textures. His capacity to compose attractive, quirky themes is heard to great effect in the D major Symphony whose rondo finale is based around a theme which Haydn himself might have written. The movement abounds with unexpected turns of phrase and the varied restatements of the rondo theme are full of amusing effects which must have delighted his audiences. The subversive element in Dittersdorf's music - the quality that makes him such an interesting and attractive composer - is also heard to great effect in the early A major symphony with its lively, 'wrong-key' minuet and ravishing trio."
These symphonies are charming and a great pleasure to have surrounding you. Start exploring Dittersdorf today, you'll enjoy his music immensely.