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on 23 October 2012
Antonio Cartellieri is a composer I have never come across before, though there are several CDs already brought out featuring his music on the MDG and Capriccio labels. There are wind concertos and chamber music, a Christmas Oratorio, and the oratorio Gioas, Re di Guida. Cartellieri was born to an Italian father and Latvian mother in Danzig, which is modern day Gdansk, in 1772. His family were settled in the Baltic region at the time of his birth. His parents, who later separated, were musicians, and Cartellieri stayed with his mother and studied music in Berlin. He learned the art of composition under such figures as Salieri and, it has been suggested, under Beethoven, whom he came in contact with in Vienna. He worked as Kapellmeister to Joseph Franz Maximillian Lobkowicz and died at the early age of 34 in 1807.

The CD features four symphonies; two were already known about, and the other two were discovered by Gernot Schmalfuss, the conductor on this recording. Each symphony has four movements, except number 2 which is much shorter than the others and has three. One thing that struck me when listening to these works was the influence of Haydn and Mozart and I can also hear echos of Schubert. In fact the opening of Symphony no. 1 reminded me immediately of the unison opening of Mozart's piano sonata in C minor K.457. Each of these symphonies embraces all the elements of Viennese classicism. He writes especially very well for the winds.

These works are a real delight and I'm very tempted to explore this neglected composer in the other recordings that are available. The Evergreen Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan under Gernot Schmalfuss are excellent in every way . You get a sense that these players are wonderfully committed to this music and get a real enjoyment from playing it. The CD is in excellent sound. The booklet notes are very informative. I would thoroughly recommend this CD.
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on 15 October 2014
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