on 22 September 2011
The Contemporaries Of Mozart series, turns the spotlight on Francoise Gossec, An 18th century composer from the Netherlands, who seems to be largely overlooked by mainstream classical repertoir. There are five Symphonies on this CD, three with three movements, and two with four movements, dating from the 1760's and 1770's, all being scored for strings and small groupings of winds or brass, and all are in the major key. The pleasant and melodic nature of Gossec's music, is evident from his three movement Symphony op12 No6 in F major, that opens the selection. The opening of the first movement (allegro molto) is joyous and sunny, with some distinctive, brisk string playing. There is a pastoral loveliness to the peaceful second movement (andantino allegretto), the string and wind playing are low-key but beautifully harmonised. The third movement (poco presto) is once more sunny and vivacious, building to a brisk finale. There is plenty more to enjoy in this selection and three of these Symphonies are premiere recordings. Very much in the style of the period, but Gossec's music is distinctive, elegant and polished. For me, there are two levels to these Symphonies, on one level they are musical and pleasant to listen to, but on another level they are very subtle and reward closer, repeated listening. This is ideal music for the London Mozart Players, who as always, play very well in their own distinctive style. There is a nice acoustic on this recording, at times, and the usual high production values from Chandos. For me this is a pleasing package, that is a little different from what one usually hears from this period.